Transport in Barbados

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Barbados has 1,600 km of road, of which all are paved. In 2010, an assessment released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) of the United Kingdom, ranked Barbados 6th in the world, and the top spot in the Western Hemisphere for road network density.[1]

Driving in Barbados is on the left-hand side of the road, just as in almost every other Commonwealth countries. The national speed limit is generally 60 km/h (37 mph) on minor roads and 80 km/h (55 mph) on the highways, however in certain areas the speed limit may be lowered. Lower speed areas will be posted.

Barbados has a very good highway system. Known by name are the ABC Highway (Adams/Barrow/Cummins) and Spring Garden Highway, which is part of the annual Grand Kadooment Day celebrations route. Other highways are known by numbers 1 to 8.

Roundabouts are common in Barbados. Many are 2-lane roundabouts, vehicles in the roundabout have the right of way. The traffic moves in clockwise direction.[2]

Public transport

Public transport services in Barbados are operated by buses, mini-buses and by "route-taxis", or "ZRs". Most public transport services require a connection through Bridgetown, although some services run directly to other destinations.

The ZRs (pronounced "Zed-Rs"), are privately-owned mini-vans, which are plentiful in Barbados and travel to most points on the island. They are among the most common form of public transport in Barbados. The vans are easily seen, with them generally having a colour-scheme of white with maroon, and they often play loud music or use a musical horn. A black circle on the van carries the number of the route. Routes served are often more scenic than those served by other modes of transport.

Buses and minibuses also run services, and they are found frequently in many parts of Barbados. Buses run seven days of the week, although services are less frequent on Sundays. The yellow minibuses are privately-owned, just like the ZRs.

The usually larger blue buses, are government-operated by the Barbados Transport Board and charge the same fee as the other services ($1.50 BDS) for adults, free for children in school uniforms and senior citizens, $1.00 for children under 18 years not wearing a school uniform. Unlike the other services, the government buses can't offer change as they use an exact-fare system.

Competition for patrons extends to the bus terminals (sometimes just a parking lot full of buses); it is normal for the 'ZR' bus conductors to attempt to escort you to his vehicle and engage in loud altercations with other drivers and conductors, in competition for your patronage. These altercations, though sometimes dramatic, are less problematic than they usually seem to the unaccustomed.

Taxis and shuttles

Some hotels also provide visitors with shuttles to points of interest on the island. Hotel shuttles generally leave right outside of the hotel's lobby. The island also has an abundance of taxis for hire. Private taxis are available across Barbados and will generally carry passengers door-to-door but they tend to cost more depending on what the destination is.

Car rental

Car rental in Barbados is provided through any of several vehicle rental agencies. Foreign drivers driving in Barbados require a temporary driver's licence in addition to an international licence.

Road incidents

In terms of traffic and accidents, the 2010 EIU report found that Barbados had 63.1 vehicles for every 1km of road on the island.[1] A rank that placed Barbados as 23rd globally for amount of vehicles, by the total surface area of roads. For accident totals, Barbados placed 12th globally for road victims per 100 000 people; and 23rd globally (which was shared with The United States, Greece, Tunisia, Estonia and Georgia), for actual road fatalities per 100,000 people.

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