Getting Around: Taxis
A guide to public and private taxi transport around Tobago
Official taxis carry vehicle registration plates that start with the letter 'H'. For your own safety and security, only use official taxis and never travel in a ‘P’ (Private) registered vehicle with an unknown driver who claims to be a taxi driver. This is plain common sense advice that would apply anywhere, not just in Tobago.
There are two different types of taxi:
- Private Taxis: These are what most visitors consider ‘normal’ taxis – i.e. the vehicle is for the hirer's exclusive use and will take you wherever you wish.
There are no large coaches on Tobago, just a few mini-coaches. So, even package holiday firms regularly use private taxis to transfer guests between the airport and hotel.
Tobago’s drink/drive laws may not be as stringent as in many countries, but their jails are also a lot less comfortable. Why risk your own life and that of others when you can arrange for a taxi to collect you from the restaurant and get you safely back to your hotel or villa?
- Route Taxis: These 'public' taxis (including larger minibus variants called Maxi Taxis) operate along set routes and can be hailed from the roadside. Route taxis are cheap (but be sure to negotiate the charge before getting in the vehicle). They operate on a shared basis, like buses. The driver will toot to signal if he has a spare seat.
The best taxi drivers work hard to impress visitors. Is the cheery welcome and chat real, or is it intended to promote further bookings? Given the happy nature of most Tobagonians, I think it is generally the former.
Attitudes have changed little in the 45 years that I have known Tobago. I well remember a day’s outing ending with a visit to the taxi driver's home and tea with his family.
Drivers often serenade passengers. The singing may be as poor as the driving, but you might find a gem. If you do, take the drivers card and use him throughout your visit.
Tobago taxis work to an official tariff. However, the vehicles are not fitted with fare metres and it is important to negotiate a fare before entering the vehicle. Click the taxi fares tab for a list of the current official taxi fares issued by the Tobago Taxi Cab Co-op.Society.
Route taxis are the most common method of public travel for the general population on Tobago. Public route taxis and maxi-taxis depart from Lower Scarborough for western destinations, and from Main Street (Windward Road) in Scarborough for other destinations.
WARNING: In recent years, there has been a substantial increase in the number of illegal taxis. Known locally as "pulling bull", these are private cars with a P registration, rather than the offical H registration number. They will take you to your destination very cheaply. However, these vehicles are NOT insured for hire and reward and you will not be covered in the event of an accident. Worse, you could be putting your personal safety at grave risk. You have been warned!
Female Taxi Drivers on Tobago
Ladies travelling alone regularly ask if there are any female taxi drivers on the island. The only one I have been recommended to is Jean McEachnie who can be contacted on 639-2192 (home) or 759-4339 (mobile). Please let me know if readers can recommend any others.