So with carnival coming let’s explore the basics of ground transportation in Port-of-Spain (hereinafter referred to as “town”), to be applied in and out of the best season ever in Trinidad and Tobago.
Question: Have you ever traveled in Trinidad? If you are a veteran/ daily commuter or traveling from the days when a red band on the bus route was five dollars, this post is not for you. Unless you would like to read on and give me a like. Then Thanks!
Moving on, here are some basic travel tips for getting around the island’s capital.
How we do it:
- Taxi: License plate starts with an “H” if it does not start with an “H” do not get in. Hell if your gut tells you do not get in, then don’t. Most major areas in Trinidad and Tobago have “H” cars. Most have their badges displayed for passengers to see. Most DO NOT have a fare breakdown available. So ask. Quite simple really! PLEASE DO NOT get in a “P” car ( A non H License plate). IE: If a man is plying on the side of the road and telling you where he is going or asking where you are going, just do not chance it. It is not worth it. You may get some agitated responses from drivers plying their trade, but whatever. Safety first.
- Maxi Taxi: Buses marked by colored stripes. Best thing since sliced bread. You can get them at almost anytime. If you are traveling at night (personally I would try and avoid this obviously, but hey life happens) observe, and as with all public transport, take down the license plate number and let someone who is not with you know the details. Also, stay off your phone. Since the focus of this edition is the capital- Yellow goes West (Diego Martin, Petit Valley, Chaguaramas). The yellow band maxi stand is next to the museum on South Quay.
- PTSC (Public Transportation Services Corporation) Bus: All cities and boroughs have a bus station, where you can get to anywhere on the island from, even Maracas Bay. The main station in Port of Spain is City Gate, where you have the option of getting buses to all over the island, maxi taxis for the PBR (Priority Bus Route) – which stop pretty much anywhere between destinations. You can even get a maxi to drop you out on the highway if needed.
We have TTRideshare, Drop and a new lady driven service called Pink Cab. I would highly recommend TTRideshare and Drop for nights out, I have used them and was satisfied with the service. Pink Cab, is brand new so I cannot give an opinion, except it seems like a great incentive, as it is only female drivers, which makes the inclination to feel safe highly likely. Each of the above are available by downloading from your preferred app store.
A note about directions:
Trini’s love to give colorful possibly vague directions with landmarks. It goes along the lines of ” Go down till you reach x, then turn by the next corner and cross by the traffic light and is on the right-hand side”. If you do not know an area, this can be a bit confusing, so open up a google maps on your phone and note landmarks, and keep asking. You will get there eventually.
Personally, I like walking. Not from Curepe to town, but I will traverse town instead of taking a car (taxi) as it is usually quicker because traffic is ridiculous, especially at carnival. But, Be vigilant, tourists like to walk, which is fine and all, but try not to walk desolate streets by yourself even in broad daylight, please walk in groups. Generally, highly populated areas at night such as Woodbrook (the infamous Ariapita Avenue) are fine, but again in groups. Saving your money is not worth getting held up. Not saying it is inevitable, but there is always a chance.
- When a taxi man says he only needs one more to go, 9/10 times he is lying and you will be the first person getting into his car or bus. Don’t feel bullied.
- Always alert someone to your whereabouts.
- When in doubt, ask.
- Try to have exact change or smaller bills. Makes the process easier for all involved, plus less attention drawn to you.
- If the bell is not working in a maxi, do not feel ashamed to say “Drive, I dropping out at “x location” or “here”. We do it all the time.
- Most taxi stands are not marked. So you will be able to identify them by either a line of cars, with drivers heckling, or by a large group of people standing up waiting. Again, ASK IF YOU DO NOT KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING. If you feel unsure asking passers-by, go into the nearest retail outlet, or as a vendor.
Look out for another installment of Trini Travel Thursday coming soon! Unless I am wining in a fete of course.
Stay safe, stay real and do not take unnecessary risks.
If you are interested in light-hearted commentary about daily travel in Trinidad, head on over to my Instagram. I will be resurrecting my Trini Taxi Thoughts posts, where you will get license plates of taxi drivers who like to lie and say their car full, to those moments when granny announces that everyone is going to pray for the journey up the road.
Never a dull moment.
One Comment Add yours
Well done Tash…!!!