Transport and Driving

Whether you want to use public transport or rent a car, the road network is extensive.

All the major roads across the Island are served on a regular basis by buses, mini-buses and/or mini-vans, with the latter two running on pre-determined routes under the direction of the Transport Authority.

The main buses are run by the government via the Barbados Transport Board, whereas the mini-buses and mini-vans are run by private sector individuals who have been granted a licence by the Transport Authority.

Bus fares are regulated by the government and are currently set at BDS $3.50. This fare applies for each one-way journey on a single bus; so if you need to catch a connecting bus, the fare is payable again.

Many routes require a connection via the main bus terminals in Bridgetown. However, some services run a direct route that don't require taking multiple buses. This is most common with some routes offered by the Barbados Transport Board.

If you need to travel between the west and south coast, you usually need to catch a connecting bus via the main bus terminals in Bridgetown.

Whenever in doubt about which bus you need to catch, don't hesitate to ask a local resident.

Paying for your bus fare

All buses accept only cash payments.

Government Buses:

These operators run on an exact fare system; no change is given. Payments must be in Barbados Dollars and are paid into a fare box. However, paper notes must be unfolded and shown to the bus driver first.

When you are approaching your destination, press the nearest 'stop' button to let the bus driver know that you want to disembark at the next bus stop.

Mini-Buses and Mini-Vans:

These operators prefer to work on an exact fare system, but can usually provide change. Payments should be made in Barbados Dollars, but they also usually accept US dollars at an exchange rate of USD $1 = BDS $2.

Most mini-vans have conductors on board that will take your fare just before you disembark. If there is no conductor on board, you usually pay the driver just before you exit, or at the window after you disembark.

If you need change you will likely be given Barbados Dollars, even if you paid in US dollars.

When you are approaching your destination, press the nearest 'stop' button (usually located above the window) which will let the conductor or bus driver know that you want to disembark at the next bus stop.

Alternatively, just let the conductor or bus driver know by speaking out loud. You may also occasionally see locals tapping on the side windows. This is another, albeit much less frequent, way for us to tell the bus driver that we want to disembark.

Mini-vans are notorious on the Island for speeding and playing loud music. If this may bother you, consider taking a government bus instead.

  • Gasoline: BDS $4.26 per litre [4]
  • Diesel: BDS $3.94 per litre [4]

Undoubtedly one of the best ways to explore Barbados is by car, as it will allow you to explore areas of Barbados either too difficult or impossible by public transport.

If you want to rent a car for less than six months, we recommend Drive-a-Matic, who we have found to be consistently trustworthy and reliable. For car rentals in excess of six months, we recommend actually leasing a car from a company such as Simpson Motors, as it is usually much cheaper than renting.

For persons moving to Barbados on the Welcome Stamp, buying a car is another option. If you want to buy a new Toyota vehicle, the official dealer in Barbados is Nassco, and we have been advised they allow persons on the Welcome Stamp visa to apply for financing if desired.

If you are looking for a new or used Suzuki or Chevrolet vehicle, the official dealer is Simpson Motors, but we have been advised they are not willing to offer financing options to persons on the Welcome Stamp visa.

When you buy a vehicle – new or used – you first need to get the vehicle insured and then weighed at the Barbados Licensing Authority's weighing bridge at The Pine, St. Michael. Your vehicle's tank must be full, and proof of sale and insurance needs to be furnished. It costs BDS $25 to get a vehicle weighed.

After a vehicle is weighed, you will be given a weight certificate and can proceed to vehicle registration with the Barbados Revenue Authority. It costs BDS $400 to get a vehicle registered.

Many car dealers in Barbados will handle the vehicle registration process for you. It may be a complimentary service or something they offer for an extra fee. There are usually very long wait times to get vehicles weighed and registered, so we strongly advise letting your dealer handle it for you if they offer to do so.

In case you are thinking of importing a car into Barbados, take note that imported cars are subject to very high import duties and levies. Furthermore, only vehicles less than four years in age with an odometre reading not exceeding 50,000 km can be imported. [1]

Unfortunately, cars are very expensive in Barbados for the same reason it is expensive to import your own car: most vehicles imported into the Island are subject to high import taxes and fees.

Speed limits

Unless road signs or markings indicate otherwise, the speed limit on most roads is 60 km/h, except on the ABC Highway and Spring Garden Highway where the speed limit is 80 km/h. However, the speed limit is lower in Bridgetown, at 40 km/h.

Parking your vehicle

Take note that it is an offence to park a vehicle on a footpath. [2]

FAQs

Q: What are fuel prices like in Barbados?

Unfortunately, fuel is very expensive in Barbados due to the duties and taxes imposed on gasoline and diesel. However, all gas stations in Barbados charge the same rate because fuel prices are fixed by the government.

Q: Do you recommend any particular insurance provider?

We have had good experiences with both Almi and Trident Insurance. If you are renting or leasing a car, your hire company is responsible for arranging car insurance on your behalf.

Q: Do I need to get my vehicle inspected annually, similar to an 'MOT' or 'roadworthy' test?

Vehicles that are 10 years of age or older must pass a roadworthy inspection to be bought, sold or insured. Inspections must be performed by an authorised garage, or the Vehicle Inspection Division of the Barbados Licensing Authority.

Q: I was given a fixed penalty notice. Where do I pay the fine?

Fixed penalty notices need to be paid to the Clerk of the Magistrate's Court for the relevant district mentioned therein. If the penalty notice states District A, you need to visit the Accounts Section of the Supreme Court, located at Whitepark Road in Bridgetown. [3] When you arrive, follow signs for the Registration Offices.

To drive a vehicle in Barbados, you must have a valid domestic or foreign driving licence.

If you have a foreign licence, you cannot use it to drive in Barbados without a valid Visitor Registration Certificate, commonly known as a Visitor Driving Permit, at a fee of BDS $10 for two months or BDS $100 for one year.

Persons hiring a car with a rental company can purchase a Visitor Driving Permit from their rental company when receiving their hire vehicle.

Alternatively, a Visitor Driving Permit can be purchased directly from the Barbados Revenue Authority online.

Persons must keep their driving licence, Visitor Driving Permit (if applicable) and insurance documentation on their person at all times while driving.

Welcome Stamp visa holders can apply to have their foreign driving licence exchanged for a domestic driving licence (e.g. if their foreign driving licence is expiring). If this applies to you, follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Apply for a licence exchange by visiting the Barbados Licencing Authority at The Pine. There are usually separate queues for applying for driving licences (or exchanges), and collecting driving licences. Make sure you are in the right queue. Don't hesitate to ask someone if you are not sure.
  • Step 2: Once approved, pay the licence fee by visiting the Barbados Revenue Authority at Warrens Tower II. Payments must be in Barbados Dollars; cash only. The licence fee is BDS $50 for one year, BDS $125 for three years, or BDS $200 for five years.
  • Step 3: Visit the Barbados Licencing Authority at The Pine with your payment receipt to get your photo taken. Your driving licence is usually produced on the spot, but you may need to return a few days later.

If you are residing in Barbados on a Visitor Visa, you cannot apply for a domestic driving licence, even if you have permission to reside on the Island for more than six months at a time.

Q: Is it possible to apply for, or renew, a Barbados Driving Licence online?

Unfortunately, it is not currently possible for anyone to apply for a new driving licence online.

Barbadian citizens whose driving licence has expired less than three years ago can renew their driving licence at ezpay.gov.bb. However, this facility is not currently available to foreign nationals.

Q: Will I need a Visitor Driving Permit if I have a Barbados Driving Licence?

Foreign nationals only need a Visitor Driving Permit if they wish to drive on public roads in Barbados using a valid foreign driving licence.

Q: Will I be able to get a Visitor Driving Permit if my foreign licence is expiring, or has expired?

If your foreign driving licence has expired, you will need to get your foreign driving licence renewed before you can apply for a Visitor Driving Permit.

However, if your foreign driving licence is expiring (but has not yet expired), the validity period of your Visitor Driving Permit will be limited to the amount of time remaining on your foreign driving licence, or the maximum period allowed for the licence fee paid, whichever is sooner.