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By Keith Archibald Forbes (see About Us) exclusively for Bermuda Online
New residents and locals should refer to Bermuda Road Transport for Locals.
Visitors are not allowed by the Bermuda Government to rent automobiles or operate any other kind of four or more wheeled vehicle on Bermuda's roads, or bring their own motorized 2-wheel vehicles - not even for the handicapped or disabled. Why not? Your safety, on unfamiliar, often narrow, winding, sharply twisting roads, is cited. Another is Bermuda's very small physical size - less than 21 miles in total land area and sixth largest population per square mile in the world, higher than in Bangladesh and Bahrain and exceeded only by Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Macao, Monaco, Singapore and Vatican City (all of which do have rented cars available for visitors). Nor are visitors, even when they have driving licenses issued by their home state or province or country, allowed to drive any relative's cars in Bermuda. Foreign drivers licenses are not legal in Bermuda.
Bermuda has by far more vehicles per square mile than anywhere else in the world - all of which must be insured for at least 3rd Party by a Bermudian insurance company licensed and registered to offer insurance business.
A free print guide helps Bermuda's visitors find their way around. It includes maps of the City of Hamilton, Royal Naval Dockyard, Town of St. George and more. It has stops for the services shown below, including bus and ferry stops, gas stations and where to park. Copies are available from Visitors Service Bureaus.
In order of preference
|Mode||Used by air passengers||Used by cruise passengers||Total|
|Scooter or moped||44%||16%||35%|
Undertaken by the US-based Bureau of International Economic Development Inc. in May 2014 in Bermuda-related tourism transport areas
|Questions||Air passengers||Cruise ship visitors|
|1. Should rental cars be allowed? (Not allowed to date). An overwhelming yes by air and cruise visitors but not surprisingly, because they would lose much business, in May 2014 the Bermuda Taxi Owners and Operators Association president Derek Young claimed it would result in panic and turmoil on Bermuda's roads.||Yes, 95%||Yes, 85%|
|2. Should there be another alternative to scooters mopeds?||Yes, 89%||Yes, 88%|
|3. Should pubic transport buses be modified to take visiting passengers and their luggage, as is common elsewhere, instead of only taxis allowed?||Yes, 92%||Yes, 90%|
|4. Should leading hotels be allowed to have their own shuttle services to and from the airport?||Yes, 99%||N/A|
|5. Should public transport buses and ferries have at least one wheelchair space for the disabled and also have special seating signs for the disabled, as they do overseas.||Yes, 95%||Yes, 92%|
|6. Should there be a new water taxi service from the airport to leading waterside hotels?||Yes, 93%||Yes, 87%|
|7. Given the tedious yearly frequency in Bermuda of sudden wild-cat bus and ferry strikes that affect tourists in particular, should the Bermuda Government enact legislation to define public transportation as an essential service, similar to legislation in USA?||Yes. 99%||Yes. 99%|
Opinions varied hugely. In 1, air passengers especially say Bermuda should allow what other islands do. Re 2, it seems islands in the Caribbean and Hawaii, parts of Europe and other countries offer small 2-4 seater drive-yourself 4-wheeled alternatives - some are micro cars, 4 feet wide, 8 feet long - not available here because they have been rejected for use by Bermuda's Ministry of Transport.
If you plan on renting and using a moped or scooter, or using a bus or taxi, be sure to read the section on Road Traffic in Bermuda Road Transport for Locals.
In every year there are thousands of road traffic accidents and numerous road fatalities in Bermuda's 21 square miles and 69,400 people. This is a trend that is alarming and starting to affect almost every local family and many visitors. Riding mopeds and scooters are the most common form of injury to locals and visitors by a very wide margin.
When involved in any kind of accident involving injury to a person or damage to a vehicle, call the Bermuda Police Service (BPS) at 911. This is particularly important because insurance companies will not entertain claims without a police report. To do so, it is recommended all drivers have a cell phone available. Insurance companies will not honor claims unless there is a Police report. Involved parties should always exchange names, addresses, home and business phone numbers and insurance companies. If you decide to pay for any damage you have caused without calling the Police, have an independent witness to verify the transaction to prevent fraud. Keep your most important ID papers with you. Expect the Police to tell you, if the other driver does not, that the latter is licensed and insured. If not, object and decline to pay any damage yourself or via your insurance company.
The Bermuda Government collects money from services provided by the BPS, which processes more than 1,000 requests for traffic accident reports every year. From April 1, 2011 the new fee for a traffic report is $100. If the BPS does not find the necessary information on the traffic accident it will refund half of the fee. The fee to interview a police officer and supply of evidence for civil proceedings has increased to $100.
The new charges increase the cost for insurers but it should be noted a traffic accident report is only required in either serious or contentious accidents or to settle claims submitted to insurance companies.
Auxiliary cycles - rented mopeds or scooters - on the hugely busy roads are not recommended for anyone who has not driven them before habitually on the left hand side of the road. Auxiliary cycles for tourists - so called because they are limited to 50 cc (cubic capacity) in size (but unlike 30 cc models not available for good reason in Bermuda) - are powerful enough to go up Bermuda's many hills. They must be examined, passed and re-licensed annually by the Bermuda transport authority (Transport Control Board), and insured by a Bermudian insurance company. Mopeds and scooters can be so dangerous to those not accustomed to them that some cruise ships disclaim all responsibility and warn their passengers accordingly. Mopeds have larger wheels than scooters and are safer. The minimum age to ride one is 16, and proof of identification and age may be required. Electric starting vehicles are advised, even though they may be more expensive than kick start models. They carry one or two persons. No licenses are required by visitors but all rentals are entirely at your own risk. By a very wide margin visitors who use rented mopeds or scooters and are not used to them incur the most common form if injuries to visitors while in Bermuda. All who come from the USA, Canada, Europe and other places will find it very confusing to drive in Bermuda on the left side - not the right - of the highway. With all the turn signs on the "wrong" side also. If you are not completely used to such vehicles back home in such conditions, most journeys on a scooter or moped in Bermuda may give you more stress or anxiety than pleasure.
But for those who decide to rent them anyway, note the following:
It is against the law:
If you are not used to the British way of driving on the left side of the road mentioned earlier, remember to
Local roads often have very heavy traffic - most travel agents overseas will not tell you that Bermuda has more cars and motor vehicles per square mile than anywhere else in the world - and too many people who drive too fast and dangerously, plus they punctuate their journeys by car or scooter or moped with drivers hooting and waving at all their friends passing in opposite directions. Avoid Bermuda weekday rush hours and the "crazy hours" after midnight and other times when young Bermudians drinking or on drugs drive recklessly at high speeds in cars or on pack-racing mopeds, at considerable danger to themselves and other road users. Main roads have been closed completely for up to 7 hours after road accidents. Many Bermudians totally ignore Government noise controls on their vehicles and illegally soup up engines on mopeds especially to make them sound as high as a jet aircraft overhead. When these vehicles pass you at illegally high speeds as well, the combination of speeds and noise can easily result in traffic accidents, sometimes severe, or stress, or temporary or permanent loss of hearing or complete deafness.
Note that in the summer months when the heat and humidity can be very high, cycling in Bermuda can be strenuous. It is not recommended for those not used to regular exercise in heat and great humidity. Nor is it serene, with so many buses, cars, mopeds and scooters and trucks per square mile all anxious to pass you, on such narrow roads. Bermuda is not flat but hilly, with some hills very steep.
Several places rent these by the day or week, with safety headgear. See under our Bermuda Employers. With bicycles you can explore much more of the fabled Bermuda Railway Trail than by walking. They are the only vehicles allowed on the Trail. They are allowed to have saddle bags but are not allowed to tow trailers.
There are no country lanes for rural cycling. All roads are urban and the main roads of North Shore Road, South Road, Middle Road and Harrington Sound Road are one lane each way but are Bermuda's equivalent of interstate highways or trunk roads. To avoid holding up licensed motorized traffic, owners of which pay more per square mile for annual licensing than anywhere else in the world, try not to use unlicensed cycles on the main roads during rush hours.
All public transport bus services in Bermuda are Bermuda Government owned and operated by relevant government agency. Bermuda's buses are all custom-built in Europe, costing over $400,000 each. The most recent are the 2014 buses shown on their license plate on front and back. They carry 32-34 seated passengers, up to 65 who stand. They are made by German/Netherlands/Belgian manufacturer Berkhof Jonkheere to suit Bermuda's small size main roads. These buses, when not full - as they often are when cruise ships are in local ports - provide a good way to see many of the local sights. They are operated by the Bermuda Government's Department of Public Transportation, email email@example.com - established in 1946 (see Bermuda Government Boards) - to which all enquiries Address is 26 Palmetto Road, Devonshire DV 05, Bermuda. Mailing Address: P.O. Box HM 443, Hamilton HM BX, Bermuda. Telephone: (441) 292-3851. Fax: (441) 292-9996. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org for specific information about buses and fares. Email email@example.com for charters (corporate or ships, etc. hire of a bus or buses). The first female driver was employed in February 1968. Today, there are about 26 ladies and 97 men. All Bermuda buses run on diesel fuel only.
All Bermuda bus stops are marked by poles painted - like the buses - in pink and blue. They are all "request" stops which means that if no passengers are waiting to get on or off at a particular stop, the bus driver will not stop. If the pole by the bus stop is PINK, the bus will be traveling towards the city of Hamilton. If the pole is BLUE, the bus will be traveling away from Hamilton. If a bus passes you without stopping, it may be full. This happens frequently when cruise ships are in port. Their passengers often crowd the buses. Sometimes, they or local commuters have to stand in a narrow bus aisle on sharply winding roads.
To date, none of Bermuda's buses are yet wheelchair-accessible and marked with signs and special seating for the elderly and/or disabled, as they are in the UK, USA, Canada, Europe, etc. ( although this has been recommended by this author).
A Bermuda bus, public transport.
1 - Hamilton / Grotto Bay / St. George's
Route 2 - Hamilton / Ord Road
Route 3 - Hamilton / Grotto Bay / St. George's
Route 4 - Hamilton / Spanish Point
Route 5 - Hamilton / Pond Hill
Route 6 - St. George's / St. David's
Route 7 - Hamilton / Barnes Corner via South Shore Road, sometimes Dockyard
Route 8 & 8C - Hamilton / Barnes Corner; Hamilton / Dockyard; Hamilton / Somerset via Middle Road
Route 9 - Hamilton / Prospect (National Stadium)
Route 10 - Hamilton / St. George's via North Shore past Aquarium
Route 11 - Hamilton / St. George's via North Shore Road.
Fares for regular local buses
Payable by local passengers and visitors by air or cruise ship.
2015. Effective April 1. Adult, three-zone bus trip, $3.50, a book of three-zone (small local area) tickets $25. A one-day pass $19; a two-day $31; a three-day $44; four days, $48.50, seven days $62. Cash Fares require exact change only. Drivers do not make change, and are forbidden from receiving and depositing money in the fare box. Dollar bills are not accepted. Tokens are available for 3 and 14 Zones, and are honored on buses and ferries. Tickets for 3 and 14 Zones are sold in Booklets of 15, and are honored on buses only. Transportation Passes, see chart below: unlimited number of journeys for all Zones, and are honored on buses and ferries. Child passes (age 5-16) are half the cost. Children below 5 and Senior Bermuda Citizens are free. All tourists and visitors pay. If you remain in Bermuda for a week or more, a monthly pass will be less expensive than the weekly pass. But be careful to note the monthly pass must be used within the calendar month printed on it.
State your exact destination when paying cash or purchasing tokens or tickets. Visitors using cash, tickets or tokens (not passes) and having to change buses to get to a particular destination should ask the driver of the first bus, as soon as they board, for a transfer, to avoid paying another fare on the second bus. A transfer is valid for 30 minutes for the next scheduled trip of the connecting route and should be presented to the driver of the second bus when boarding. Timetables are available free of charge from the bus terminal in the city of Hamilton and sometimes from drivers as well.
See website for routes, times and fares (tickets, not tokens, are good on the ferries as well). Bus schedules are timed for operators who drive at 35 kph (21 mph).
Buses in Bermuda can be frequent compared to most other urban, town and city places in North America and rural, urban and town places in the United Kingdom. Only in UK cities (not towns) is there a more frequent service. But local buses are not equipped to carry wheel-chair bound or luggage-carrying passengers. Nor do they have the same signs for the disabled or curb-side access.
Buses first appeared in Bermuda in April 1945 as the Bermuda Omni Bus Service, a division of the Bermuda Railway Company. Before then the only public transportation were trains and ferries.
Unlike heavy trucks imported to carry containers, which are too wide for Bermuda's roads, Bermuda's imported buses are designed specifically to fit the roads. But it means they have some restrictions. Note the following:
No paper money is accepted. Only coins or valid passes, tokens and transfers (only at established points).
While one service goes to the airport, it does not take passengers with luggage from or to the airport. It is not well understood by tourists that Bermuda buses do not take passengers with any luggage or suit cases or baby strollers or prams or golf clubs. Bags larger than flight attendant bags will not be accepted. Yet tourists often try to bring them, spoiling things for other passengers. Among other things, they make it difficult or dangerous for feeble or elderly people to negotiate when getting on or off, especially when the bus may be full. Umbrella strollers only are allowed. All bags must go under the seat or on your lap.
They don't have overhead racks or underbelly luggage compartments.
No wet clothing, no bathing suits, proper attire only.
No reclining seats or seat belts for adults or children or infants, no places to secure car seats for children. Only practical way is on a lap, when space permits seating for an adult.
All buses have buzzers for passengers. Press the buzzer at least 150 yards before the bus stop you want. If you don't know when to press the buzzer, tell the driver when you get on the bus where you want to get off and ask for help. If possible, given traffic conditions, you may be told by announcement, as a courtesy. But bear in mind that if he or she forgets or is too busy with traffic, you should not complain. It is not a service customarily provided by the drivers of buses, if any, where you live. Local maps, given away free to visitors, often show the location of specific visitor attractions.
For safety and related reasons on very busy local roads and at terminals or bus stops, their drivers cannot get out of the bus to assist passengers, as nationwide or regional or city-to-city bus services do in the USA and beyond.
For Senior Citizens/Disabled who can use a bus (not for those in a wheelchair, see Disabled), free passes are available to Local Residents only with a Special Persons Card. Seniors from abroad without such a card must pay full price. Unlike in the UK, there are no similar concessionary fares for a companion, who may be younger, of someone elderly or disabled/physically handicapped.
Like most buses worldwide, they do not allow any eating or drinking. They don't allow more than a single aisle of standing passengers. Wisely, given Bermuda's many winding narrow roads and sharp bends.
See under Taxis
horse-drawn, they are remnants of an old
Bermuda tradition and are mostly found at near the cruise ship terminals in the city of Hamilton and town of St. George.
Carriage drivers, most of whom wear pith helmets in the summer, are required by law to have a rate card posted in the vehicle. They are expensive. Ask for fares and an informative spoken guided tour.
Horses in the City of Hamilton must wear diapers.
These are very slow moving vehicles so try not get one during rush hour traffic times as they will hold up traffic.
Effective April 1, 2015. An adult pays $5 in cash for a West or East End ferry service For children, it is $2.75. A book of 15 tickets covering 14 zones will cost $37.50. Taking a motorcycle on a ferry will rise to $4.50. Fares were last increased in 2013.
All public transport ferry services in Bermuda are Bermuda Government owned and operated by relevant government agencies. Most, but not all, ferries have covered lower-deck seating accessibility for the disabled. The high season 2015 Summer schedule, effective April 27 to November 1, now applies. See http://www.marineandports.bm and go to current Ferry Schedule. The ferry service’s Green Route, which serves Waterford Bridge and Cavello Bay and Rockaway stops, has seen some cutbacks. In a bid to cut costs, there will be two morning fast ferries instead of three for the West End route. Both of these ferries will service the Watford Bridge, Cavello Bay and Rockaway stops. The Department of Marine and Ports does not anticipate any major inconvenience to the travelling public. The schedule was made available at the Hamilton Ferry Terminal from April 17.
Be aware that there are numerous occasions during the Cruise Ship season when two large cruise ships together carrying more than 3,500 passengers are in the same Bermuda port (for example, Dockyard) at the same time, for up to three days. Most Bermuda ferries can take up to 200 passengers per trip. In their best interests, before ferry passengers from off cruise ships purchase ferry passes, especially when they may have time limitations or want to see certain places at certain times, they should first check with the ferry ticket office whether, when there are too many ferry passengers for all to be accommodated on any ferry crossing at any particular time, there are back-up ferries routinely available to other waiting passengers to leave at about the same time. Or if that particular ferry crossing is filled do waiting passengers have to wait until the next scheduled ferry service, some time later, to that same destination? In most other destinations worldwide with public transport ferry services available to passengers there are always back-up vessels routinely available. Ferry passengers should always have such back-up, to do or go where they want in a timely manner and to get back to their cruise ships in time for their meals. When they can be relied on in this way, ferries are by far the best, most scenic and least expensive way to see Bermuda at her best.
See the somewhat different fares for the Ferry Pink Route. Why the difference? The ferry service on the Pink Route is mostly used by the locals and office goers. Note that the Orange Route ferry service that caters to St. George is seasonal - usually does not operate during the winter (i.e. mid November to mid April).
The Sea Express ferry service is operated by the Bermuda Government's Department of Marine and Ports. Phone 295-4506. These relaxed sea routes are unequalled, a superb sea or harbor crossing in unrivalled scenery, much better than going by bus on overcrowded and perpetually noisy roads. They are far more ecological than a bus, with daily or weekly or monthly passes included in the same price as the buses, and far less expensive than a taxi. The only extra charge is for cycles or mopeds. All places to stay, cruise ships and the ferry terminal have copies of the ferry timetable at no charge. Unlike the buses, ferries to and from Dockyard and St. George's (see below) can take wheelchairs for the disabled. The Paget to Warwick ferry will take the walking disabled. They also take cycles or mopeds.
From Hamilton, they serve Paget, Warwick, Somerset and Dockyard on a varied daily basis (see timetable) and St. George's on Wednesdays and Thursdays from April 18 through November 2 only). They do not operate when the weather is too windy.
Not shown is the route to St. David's via St. George's
Bermuda ferry, one of the smaller ones
Names of Ferry Stops
Bermuda ferries conform to rigid standards of ferry construction by Lloyds Register of Shipping. They have twin hulls and reach higher speeds than the older ferries. They meet USA environmental standards, have low-emission diesel engines, low noise, low wake, sewage holding tanks, wheelchair access, comfortable cushioned seats and a concession stand for coffee, tea, soft drinks and food. Additionally, more than US$ 15 million of Bermuda taxpayers' money was spent on improving all the ferry docks except Boaz Island (which was eliminated) and construction of new ones. To allow for easy embarkation and disembarkation, the new floating ferry dock in Hamilton was designed and built in Canada. It remains at the same level regardless of whether the tide is high or low. The difference in level between the fixed land side dock and the floating dock is accommodated by a ramp which is hinged at the fixed end and free to rise and fall with the floating dock at the opposite end. At other places - where it is impractical to provide a floating dock - the ferries berth against a fixed dock with a hinged ramp which lower onto the bow of the ferry. Bermuda Department of Marine & Ports pilots and ferry personnel were trained at a US shipyard in operation and maintenance of the new vessels.
Warbaby Fox, 2006
Of the above vessels, Venturilla was named after the first black person in Bermuda, a slave believed to have spent several months in Bermuda, after a shipwreck in 1603). Tempest is named for the storm that led to the colonization of formerly uninhabited Bermuda in 1609. Warbaby Fox, so-named after Charles Hilgrove W. Fox, owner of the Black Horse tavern in St. David’s and a prominent figure in the Eastern County and Cup Match cricket games. The latter ferry has a top speed of 33 knots per hour and can carry 350 passengers. It is powered by four diesel and four water jet engines. Unfortunately, for a combination of reasons but most likely to be the exceptionally high salinity of Bermuda's waters, all the above-mentioned vessels, still quite new - purchased after 1998 - have had major problems.
Consequently, since May 2013 the Bermuda Government has spent millions of dollars to charter the 400 Passenger Fast Ferry Catamaran "Millennium" from Rhode Island Ferries. She was chartered to help with passengers on mega-cruise ships now serving Bermuda each carrying thousands of passengers and to provide larger ferry service from Dockyard to St. George's. She is the largest ferry to date in Bermuda.
None now. There was one in the 1990s.
None. No Bermuda hotels are allowed by government to have airport shuttles, despite requests from hotels to be allowed to operate such vehicles. They would if they could. Bermuda is one of the very few places in the world that will not routinely allow this. The only hotel shuttles allowed are those connecting some hotels to their private beaches. However, some hotels and guest houses work around this by privately arranging with individual taxi operators or taxi businesses to pickup and deliver their guests from/to the airport.
The Bermuda Government created in June 2006 a new category of public service vehicle. It is known as a limousine, borrowed in name but not in style or size from limousines common overseas. It does not refer to a stretch-limo vehicle - not allowed in Bermuda - but can be a larger automobile car or former taxi. A number of limousine licenses have been issued, with some taxi drivers having exchanged their taxi permit to become a limousine operator.
Ricky's Minibus Service
Minibuses are examined, passed and re-licensed annually by the Bermuda transport authority (Transport Control Board), and insured by a Bermudian insurance company. These are not big buses. Instead, they are passenger vans or smaller buses in various sizes. Some can carry up to 27 people. Some can also carry up to two disabled passengers in wheelchairs.
The responsibility of the Ministry is to manage and regulate transportation in Bermuda, including the airport, weather services, buses and ferries.
See under "Auxiliary cycles."
See under "Motor Cycles" in Bermuda Road Transport for Locals." Not mentioned here because, like cars, they cannot be driven by tourists.
This is a constant huge annoyance to all locals and visitors, most recently in June 2014 when thousands of cruise visitors were affected and hugely annoyed because, with the stoppage, the ferry passes they had paid for were useless. Bermuda's public transportation buses and ferries sometimes simply cannot be relied on by cruise ship and other visitors and residents because of frequent strikes or unofficial stoppages with no legal notice. It is the present Government's view and those of many non-political visitors that public transport, presently not legally an essential industry, should be so, as it is abroad where our tourists live. People who use these services, the Bermuda public and visitors, are left stranded each time the buses and ferries have a work stoppage. The public pays for these services and its grossly unfair and does Bermuda enormous damage in poor publicity when they have no means of getting to work or to school or home when public transportation services are inoperable due to industrial action without proper notice. Businesses need to know that their employees will be able to get to work. Visitors, who spend money in the Island and create economic opportunity for Bermudians, need to enjoy a good time in Bermuda. The Labour Relations Amendment Act 2014 needs to be enacted to reclassify public transport including the bus and ferry service as essential, which means workers in these sectors would not be able to down tools at short notice and escape penalties as they do now.
See under "Auxiliary cycles."
Should rental cars be allowed? (Not allowed to date). An overwhelming yes by air and cruise visitors but not surprisingly, because they would lose much business, in May 2014 the Bermuda Taxi Owners and Operators Association president Derek Young claimed it would result in panic and turmoil on Bermuda's roads.
Costs of taxis. They are generally referred to as taxis, not cabs, in Bermuda. Taxi fares are currently split in to two groups: For 1-4 passengers and for 5-6 passengers. Presently, for 1-4 passengers, taxi fares cost $8.00 for the first mile and $2.80 for each additional mile, based on a taxi charge formula set by Bermuda's Transport Control Department (TCD). A tourist traveling to, or from, the airport to the Fairmont Southampton on a weekday will now pay about $47 plus luggage charges for an approximately 15-mile journey. This does not include a tip, of between 15 percent and 20 percent and the cost of luggage, which is charged at $1-$4 per piece depending on size. The cost increases by 25 percent on Sundays, public holidays, and after midnight. For 5-6 passengers in a single taxi the costs are higher, $10 for the first mile and $3.50 for each additional mile, plus luggage charges. All taxis are required to be registered with a taxi dispatching service. Taxi fares are very expensive in Bermuda for two main reasons, the first being the cost of gas (diesel or petroleum), at about $8.50 a gallon in July 2014, compared to about $2.20 a gallon in July 2014 in most of the USA. The second reason is that unlike in the USA, from where 85% of all Bermuda's tourists come, the average 2014 salary of a Bermuda taxi driver is over $60,000 a year and only Bermudians, not any non-nationals, are allowed to own and/or drive taxis.
There are two major routes from and to the airport from Front Street, Hamilton and further west. One via the North Shore Road, the other via the Middle, South and other roads via Harrington Sound. Taxi drivers, who have GPS and know traffic conditions at that particular time, know which route to take to get passengers there quickest. There may be some small difference in taxi fares depending on traffic conditions. Only full-time residents who know the roads well can usually tell whether one way for them is preferred to another. If you know Bermuda well and live or are visiting a central or western parish, it is suggested you tell the driver, before you start your journey, which of the two routes you prefer.
Sizes and types of vehicle. Most taxis are now minivans which require a foot-high step-up, fine for the sighted non-disabled but not for the disabled or mobility-impaired. A small number can take a wheelchair. Under The Motor Car Amendment Act 2005, drivers of the Island’s 600 cabs - equivalent to 28.57 taxis per square mile - must be “appropriately equipped” - meaning having a two-way radio set; a mobile data terminal; a global positioning device; and an alarm device, approved by the Bermuda Government's Minister of Transport. They must be examined, passed and re-licensed annually by the Bermuda transport authority (Transport Control Board), and insured by a Bermudian insurance company. Taxis are imported at a low Bermuda Government import duty rate of 10% compared to more than 100% for some other automobiles. There are often not enough taxis to meet seasonal demand from arriving or departing passengers. For taxi drivers, the busiest time of year is when cruise ships are in port - from April to October.
Some taxis are larger than others, the smaller ones for 1-4 passengers and the largest for 5-6 passengers and their luggage. Most arriving passengers do not need to make a reservation at the airport or cruise ship terminal but if you take a taxi for sightseeing and/or to leave Bermuda from your hotel, make a reservation each time with a taxi service (there are several (see below). A blue flag fluttering from the taxi's bonnet signifies the driver has qualified as a tour guide. Residents and visitors should not plan on being able to get a taxi to go anywhere on Christmas Day or New Year's Eve. All taxi drivers are self-employed. The condition of any person taking the taxi is a factor. If drunk or disorderly or unruly, a driver may refuse to take or continue to take passengers. Each taxi has a GPS satellite-navigation system. In late 2003, they were increased in maximum length and width to 210 inches long and 77 inches wide. Limits to engine capacity have been eliminated, to make way for luxury vehicles such as a Mercedes Benz taxi. Any taxi owner wishing to replace the taxi with a wheelchair accessible one may do so without needing approval from the Public Service Vehicles Licensing Board, but they are not allowed to charge wheelchair-disabled passengers any more than able passengers. However, if disabled and in a wheelchair be sure to ask if the taxi can take both an electric wheelchair and a manual wheelchair or just one or the other. Some taxis are not equipped to take both. Rates are required by law to be the same for both able passengers and disabled passengers in a wheelchair. Most taxis use a GPS system.
All taxis are inspected twice a year and owners pay an annual license fee, with no Sunday Permit extra. All are insured, with visible taxi signs and meters. Most taxi drivers are not owners of their taxis. Owners must register with a taxi dispatch company, but have a choice in which one. Taxi fares are always in USA or Bermuda dollars. A prime purpose of the GPS system is to reduce the wait time for a taxi called by telephone to no more than 15 minutes. All taxi drivers have a 2-way taxi radio. Taxis are all right hand drive, with sliding doors on the LEFT side, in conformity with Bermuda's LEFT SIDE, so passengers can enter and exit safely instead of having to face oncoming traffic.
Seat belts. Since 1 January 2004, under The Motor Car Act 1951 and Motor Car (Seat Belts) Regulations 2002, seat belts are required. Adults sitting in the front seat must wear a seat belt. Adults in the rear seat are not required to do so. Children from birth to one year and up to 20 lbs in weight must be in a rear facing seat. Children from 30 lbs to 40 lbs must be in a forward-facing child seat. Children from 40 to 80 lbs must use a seat belt positioning device or booster seat. All children are safest in the back seat. The driver of the vehicle is legally responsible for ensuring compliance and may be fined for non-compliance, but the law does not seem to be clear on who must provide booster seats or special child seats for young children. To be on the safe side, parents using taxis for their young families should bring their own. If they do not, so as not to risk being liable by default, taxi drivers may not wish to take them. Occupants 18 and older are legally responsible for themselves. Non-compliance otherwise attracts a fine of $2,100 per offence. The relevant regulatory price-approving agency is the Bermuda Government's Public Service Vehicle Licensing Board (PSVLB).
For taxi availability and rates contact any of the following: All Bermuda phone numbers start with area code 441 if dialing outside Bermuda.
Taxi operators include:
None to or from the airport. But a service to another part of Bermuda was launched in May 2013, Bermuda Water Taxi, phone (44) 535 5555. Operated by Captain Ashley Simmons, services Dockyard, St George’s, Hamilton and the Great Sound. An alternative to the Island’s land-based taxi and ferry services. Services the same stops as the Ferry Service. A trip from Dockyard to Hamilton takes around 17 minutes. Tourists and locals can call for the taxi when needed or can make reservations for a pick-up. The water taxi is a 12-seat ridged inflatable said was put together entirely in Bermuda. Depends on fair weather and favorable sea conditions. The service operates from 8am to 7pm daily with a cost of $10 to $20 depending on the destination.
Since 2009 a water taxi service has formed part of the National Transportation Plan of the Ministry of Transport of the Bermuda Government. It was hoped they will be in operation sometime in the foreseeable future to/from the airport, serving both residents and visitors. But before then, proper docking must be built at the airport, possibly similar to the docks operated in the Italian Lakes. It is intended that when in operation they be owned and operated by Bermudians and be:
August 30, 2015.
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