Saturday, 6 April 2013

Island travel

I have mentioned before that we have a pretty reasonable transportation system on the island. 
I made good use of it for the past month while my dear Beast was away at the mechanic.
I thought I would highlight the various choices available for travel on the island, if one prefers not to drive or to take a taxi cab to ones destination.
There are two bus terminals on the island, one terminal serves the north, west and some portions of the easterly side of the island, and the other Main Terminal  serves the south, central and some portions of the east of the island.
We have the big blue and yellow buses which are government-owned and operate on a schedule.
Pensioners travel free on these buses anytime.  These buses service a number of schools on the island, since we do not have dedicated school buses. The signs are changed to read SCHOOL and they are assigned to different schools in the mornings and afternoons.
Transport Board bus
There is also a smaller version which is referred  to as a minibus. These are privately-owned and operate constantly, and not according to any schedule. These buses are yellow with blue stripes.
They usually operate on the longer routes across the island like the government-owned buses.


Then of course, the transport of choice for most folks is the minivan or ZR van.
The ZR refers to the license plate registration as in ZR105. they are painted in white with a maroon stripe.
ZR van or minivan
Many folks have their favourite van in which to travel (even the school children). These little vans scurry to and fro with passengers all day long. No schedules to adhere to, so as soon as the van is full of passengers, they're on the road.
There is a serious ZR culture here, and authorities have been trying extremely hard to keep them in check. There is competition between the operators, who try to pick up the most passengers during the day (wages calculated on monies earned), and that is where the overloading and the speeding, and breaking the road laws come into play.

However, not all are created equal. Some operators drive with due care and attention adhering to the laws, and will get out to help you with your heavy packages.
Even though there are buzzers installed, it is still customary to hear a passenger  yell out, "Let me off here!" or "Bus Stop for me!" or "Stop by the shop!" or "I getting off by my mother so don't carry me way!"
If the driver sees someone running to catch up with his van, he will wait until they get there.
The van might be full, but he will ask someone to "go round and leh she scotch dere." (Make some room for her to sit)
It is these vans that I will sometimes travel in depending on my mood and the type of errands I have to take care of. They are the best Houses of Parliament, Doctor's Offices, Psychiatrists, Party Planners, News at Eleven, Life Coaches,you can find in a fifteen minute ride.
Last week I learned  why the Bajan men preferred Guyanese women, all about the going's on at the new Club Spartacus, which government ministers were not doing a good job, why not to shop in a certain store in Bridgetown, why the Syrian Indians continue to have thriving businesses on the island, who the biggest drug pushers are on the island etc, etc. all in a fifteen minute ride. Who needs a newspaper or a news report when it's all at your disposal while riding to your destination?
All bus fares are Bds$2.00 (US$1.00) for any of these modes of transportation, but I always get my moneys worth when I take a minivan.

N.B. The photos above were taken from  inside the mini  van that I was traveling in the day we were pulled over by the police.


  1. I always enjoy learning about the minutae of life in other places particularly when it's also entertaining. Thanks.

  2. How I wish I could have the "rolling on the floor" conversation on video for all to you said, very entertaining.


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