Your first experience with Bermuda-style transport will most likely be a taxi ride from the airport to your hotel or guesthouse. Taxi drivers have all airport flights covered like clockwork, so there is rarely a problem getting a cab to where you need to go. When you exit Customs, you will be directed through glass sliding doors to the Arrivals Hall, where taxis line up outside at the curb. (If a resident is collecting you, they will be waving at you from the small corral at Arrivals, parked through the door on the right leading from the hall.) All taxis are metered; the government sets the rates, which are as steep as anything else on the island. A 45-minute ride to the hotel-peppered parish of Southampton , for instance, will set you back at least $25. A tip of 15 to 20 percent of the fare is appreciated—and expected, if there’s heavy luggage to schlep. Rates are held by law at $5.75 for the first mile, and $2 for every additional mile. There is also a surcharge of 25 cents per piece of luggage. Fares are 25 percent higher between midnight and 6 a.m. and all day on Sunday and public holidays.
Bermudian taxi drivers are friendly and knowledgeable for the most part, and usually fastidious about cab cleanliness. Some drivers are specifically registered as official tour guides (look for a blue flag atop the vehicle or in its front window, or make a special request from a taxi company or your hotel concierge). For travel to business meetings, the airport, dinner reservations, or any other time-sensitive appointment, prearranging rides hours in advance, or the night before an early flight, is absolutely advisable. Taxis can take eons to arrive for last-minute reservations islandwide, particularly when it’s raining or during peak periods such as Friday and Saturday nights. If you need a taxi in parish extremities such as St. George’s or Sandys , calling early is again wise. The island’s taxi industry agreed to the installation of global positioning systems (GPS) in vehicles in 2005, but some companies and cabs have since reneged.
If you are touring the parishes, hailing cabs along roadsides rarely succeeds, because most of the ones passing you will already be on calls. Flagging down a passing taxi in Hamilton is more rewarding, and there are also specific cabstands in the city (mainly along Front Street, especially around Number One Shed when cruise liners are in port) and at King’s Square in St. George’s in the busy season. Major hotels always have taxis on hand, and Hamilton’s Bermudiana Road, Bermuda’s “Restaurant Row,” is a sure bet for cabs on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Some of the largest and most frequently used taxi companies are: Bermuda Taxi Radio Cabs Ltd. (tel. 441/295-4141 taxi dispatch, Hamilton branch 441/295-0041, airport branch 441/293-0315); Bermuda Industrial Union (BIU) Taxi Co-op Transportation (tel. 441/292-4476, cooptaxi [at] cwbda [dot] bm); and BTA Dispatching Ltd. (tel. 441/296-2121, fax 441/297-5483, airport office 441/293-6841, info [at] taxibermuda [dot] bm, www.taxibermuda.bm ).
Transport can be prearranged with reliable independent operators, such as Southampton-based Gladstone Brown (tel. 441/734-7377 or 441/535-8617, gladstone51 [at] hotmail [dot] com); Lloyd J. Smart (VIP Taxi Service, 2 Cloverdale Close, Devonshire , tel. 441/236-2957, cell 441/534-8688, lsmart [at] northrock [dot] bm); Quinton Bean, a qualified tour guide and 2006 Bermuda Gold Award–winner (tel. 441/335-4689, fax 441/236-4102, quianreu [at] logic [dot] bm); Roger Vanderpool (Islandwide Taxi Services, tel. 441/334-7665, rav1 [at] ibl [dot] bm or rajav2k4 [at] yahoo [dot] com); Nesbitt’s Taxi Service (tel. 441/333-0156, or 441/337-3411, cnesbitt [at] logic [dot] bm); and Robert Powell (tel. 441/337-1558, fax 441/234-4627). First Step Taxi Service (tel. 441/735-7151, rogersberlyn51 [at] hotmail [dot] com), with driver Berlyn Rogers, has a wheelchair-accessible vehicle.
Two companies catering specifically to airport transportation are: Bermuda Hosts Ltd. (tel. 441/293-1334, fax 441/293-1335, info [at] bermudahosts [dot] bm, www.bermudahosts.bm ) offers airport meet-and-greet, golf tours, restaurant drop-off and pickup, and sightseeing trips, with mini-buses big able to handle groups. It is located through the left door of the arrivals hall after clearing Customs. Bee Line Transportation Bermuda Ltd. (tel. 441/293-0303, after hours 441/238-2603 or 441/293-1493, info [at] beelinetransportltd [dot] com) is conveniently based at the airport to offer shuttles, and bus and taxi tours. Island Transfers’ John Powell (tel. 441/734-8260, fax 441/236-0074, islandtran [at] ibl [dot] bm) caters to special prearranged transport requests, particularly those of visiting corporate travelers, with his fleet of six-seater vans, many chauffeured by ex-police or prison officers. He also has wheelchair-accessible vans, able to transport groups of up to nine passengers in wheelchairs.