The easiest and most common way to get around Jamaica is via taxis and minibusses. In some areas on the island – especially the rural communities, these are the only mode of transportation. They are usually affordable and a very convenient way of getting around.
Taxis and minibusses usually run on a set route picking up and letting off people as they go along. They have no set timetables, usually depart their point of origin only when full and are identified by their red license plates.
There are a few things we learn while traveling in taxis or minibusses in Jamaica:
1- You learn how to instantly lose body within seconds as the next person is crammed in the bus or taxi. “Small up yourself!” is a popular phrase uttered by drivers or bus conductors, when they want to add another passenger to the vehicle.
2- You learn patience, as you often have to stand and wait on the bus or taxi to either get to your stop or to “load” at the terminus. At least once while traveling you must have heard the unsolvable math statement “one and ready, two and drive!”.
3- If you have ever had to sit on one of the wooden middle make-shift seat (cross seat), then you know what trust is. Your trust also builds when you sit calmly and allow the driver to navigate dangerous corners or pass another car in close proximity.
4- You often make instant friends on these taxis and buses, having been in close proximity to people when you are squeezed together.
5- You also learn how to adapt to changes. Sometimes drivers take a different route, whether to avoid traffic, stop by his house to pick up lunch, his kids or baby mother. We have heard of cases where taxi drivers ask people to take the wheel while they make a phone call.
6- Tolerance for odors and the different personalities you encounter. You will not always meet happy, cheerful and sweet smelling people while commuting; Your tolerance for different personalities and scents will subsequently increase.
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