Where to Get Your PPV
- The Half-Way-Tree (HWT) Transport Centre, for all your JUTC bus needs in HWT. All but 2 HWT routes start and end here and the centre serves as a central meeting spot. It is referred to as simply the bus park.
- The HWT Main Taxi Stand. Here you can get route taxis to Three Miles, neighbouring residential communities like Richmond Park, to Liguanea, August Town, UWI Mona Campus and Papine. Route 73 JUTC buses to Liguanea, Papine and UWI also load here.
- Red Hills/ PriceRite Taxi Stand, not that the Total gas station operators are very pleased but just across from the bus park at this station you can get these route taxis.
- Constant Spring & HWT Rural Bus Stop, from which you can get coaster buses en route to St. Mary and Portland which drive the Junction route. I used here for my Castleton Botanical Gardens/Wag Water River & Somerset Falls trips. It’s just outside the bus park & across from a Burger King.
- New Kingston/ Mountain View Taxi Stand, ranges from just outside York Pharmacy, across from that beside the large NCB/clocktower or a little further up across from HWT Mall, Clocktower Plaza and Brooklyn supermarket.
- Parade, the major travel hub in Kingston aside from the HWT Transport Centre. From here you can get buses to HWT, Red Hills, Washington Boulevard, Portmore, Port Royal and out east to Harbour View and Bull Bay like I took to get to Cane River Falls, Rockfort Mineral Bath & its canons/ruins and Carib Beach. While not its official boarding spot, you will get all your St. Thomas coasters here as well such as to Yallahs and Morant Bay, the latter I took to get to Lyssons Beach the first time I went. Such a difference from when I went later using private transport. While you’re here check out one of our heritage sites, the Sir William Grant Park found in its centre.
- Rural Bus Terminus, Kingston’s gateway to at least 7 other parishes e.g. Westmoreland, St. Elizabeth, Manchester. I’ve never been here personally nor taken one of these buses but a country bus experience doesn’t get more authentic than this. NOTE: the surrounding environs of this bus park is not without its occasional flare-up of gun violence. Avoid it if you can.
- Heading to the Hills (Mavis Bank, Gordon Town, Irish Town). Minivans and robot taxis are the main modus operandi with the rare coaster bus. They load anywhere in this vicinity, not having a designated spot e.g. beside Papine square (pictured below), at the gas station or in front of Parkview supermarket. JUTC route 61 runs to Gordon Town from here too (route starts in Downtown Kingston) but you will have an hour’s wait, I guarantee you.
- To HWT or Downtown. On the opposite side of Papine square are the JUTC buses, coasters and taxis headed to Downtown or HWT. Just check with the people standing around at these stops. They’ll be able to tell you if you’re waiting at the right spot or not. This photo is rather old since it depicts the older white JUTC buses instead of the more modern yellow ones, but the place looks the same.
If you aren’t commuting from one of these major towns, you should stand at a bus stop and ask the first bus or taxi driver if he’s going where you’d like.
Some Words of Caution
- You may face harassment from loadermen, this group of unattached men who have created a profession out of jostling passengers quickly into taxis at taxi stands. The taximen then pay them for not having to solicit passengers themselves. If this profession sounds stupid, unnecessary and borderline extortionist to you, that’s because it is but hey. It is what it is. There are decent ones who will genuinely try to help you find a taxi that meets your destination, are kempt and polite but good luck finding them. Just ignore them really. You’ll be fine if not a little annoyed.
- Keep your electronics, jewelry and money CLOSE. We have pickpockets in Kingston like everywhere else and they walk around with ratchet knives and ice picks. They’re rather slick too; you may not even notice it happening because as we say in Jamaica, our thieves are sometimes so skilled that they can tief milk outta coffee. Need not be afraid though. Just use your normal street smarts and no harm will befall you.
- Don’t rely on public transport at nights or walking around in poorly lit areas.
- And of course, if you’re not feeling up to navigating all that, we have loads of private options like car rental companies, private charters like the Knutsford Express and private taxis. Just be prepared to fork out a lot more cash. If you have a small budget, you’re better off braving up since you’re armed with all the info you need. 😉
- Carry local currency and in smaller change ($5, $10, $20, $50, $100, $500 only).
Now you know how to travel like a Kingstonian! Feel free to share your experiences, ask questions or add any suggestions or recommendations for unfamiliar users of Kingston’s public transport in the hopes of making this a valuable resource.
Walk good. ✌
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None of the photographs pictured above are the property of Adventures from Elle. Most were taken from the Jamaica Gleaner or Loop Jamaica through Google Images. If you recognize any of the aforementioned photographs as yours and would like to see them removed or properly cited, leave a comment or get in touch via my About page. Also, all prices are listed in Jamaican dollars (JM$).