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Bermuda

Getting around

You cannot rent cars in Bermuda. Visitors can ride a public bus or ferry, use a taxi, rent a motor scooter or bicycle - or even hire a horse and carriage.

Boat

Public ferries, which operate daily in the Great Sound and Hamilton Harbour, offer a scenic alternative to the bus. As the distances across water are often shorter than comparable land routes, the ferries can also be quicker. The fastest ferry from the City of Hamilton to the Royal Naval Dockyard, for example, takes just 20 minutes, while the bus ride takes a full hour.

There are four different ferry routes, connecting the City of Hamilton with St George and the Dockyard; with Paget and Warwick; with Southampton; and with Sandys Parish. Each route leaves from the Hamilton Ferry Terminal, which is conveniently located on Front St in the City of Hamilton, adjacent to the tourist information office.

Cash is not accepted on the ferries. If you have questions regarding ferries, contact the Hamilton Ferry Terminal (295-4506; www.seaexpress.bm).

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Car & motorcycle

Driver's license

Here's a surprise: you don't need a driver's license to drive a scooter in Bermuda. Just remember when you get out on the road that there may be plenty of shaky novices out there who don't have one! Scooter drivers, however, are required by law to be at least 16 years old.

Road rules

In Bermuda, as in Britain, driving is on the left. The speed limit throughout Bermuda is 35km/h (22 miles), except in a few municipal areas such as central St George, where it drops to 25km/h.

Bermuda has a handful of roundabouts (also known as rotaries or traffic circles) - you must give way to traffic already on the roundabout, but once you enter you have the right-of-way.

Helmets are required of both drivers and passengers, and are provided by the cycle livery you rent from. Police are not eager to ticket tourists and will generally issue warnings for traffic violations as long as the violator is polite and apologetic.

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Bus & tram

Bus

Bermuda has a good islandwide public bus system that you can use to reach most sights and beaches. The buses are reliable and generally run on time. Pick up a free copy of the bus-and-ferry schedule at one of the tourist offices or at the bus terminal on Washington St in the City of Hamilton.

Buses are quite busy between 3:30pm and 5:30pm on weekdays, when schoolchildren and office workers make the commute home, but at most other times, getting a seat isn't a challenge. Frequency varies with the route and time of travel, but during the day the busier routes generally have a bus operating every 15 to 30 minutes. Sundays and holidays have substantially reduced schedules.

Although schedules vary by route, most buses begin their service somewhere between 6:30am and 7:30am. Service on some minor routes ends around 6pm. On the two most significant routes - Hamilton to St George and Hamilton to the Royal Naval Dockyard - service continues until around 11pm, with the schedule thinning out as the evening goes on.

Of the 11 bus routes, all, with the exception of the St George-St David's route, leave from the Hamilton bus terminal. Consequently, if you use buses often, you'll find yourself transferring there frequently.

Bus stops are marked with color-coded posts to indicate whether buses serving that stop are inbound or outbound. If the post is pink, buses stopping there are heading into Hamilton; if it's blue, the buses are heading away from Hamilton.

For inquiries regarding bus service, contact the Public Transportation Board (292-3851) between 8:45am and 5pm weekdays.

There is also aprivate minibus service that operates solely within St George's Parish.

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Tours

If you want to piece together your own private sightseeing tour, taxis can double as tour operators, catering a tour to your interests. The drivers are generally knowledgeable and their commentary can add plenty of local color as you explore. Seek out a taxi with a blue card in the front window, which indicates the driver has been certified as a tourism specialist, meaning that their background on sightseeing is particularly extensive. The cost is BD$36 per hour for one to four passengers, BD$50 per hour for five or six passengers.

The St George's Mini-Bus Service offers one-hour tours of the Town of St George for BD$20 while the cruise ship season is on. The aforementioned public ferry rides can double as inexpensive harbor cruises.

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Local transport

Taxi

Taxis are readily available from the airport at flight times, and most larger hotels have taxis waiting. In addition, there are taxi stands in heavily touristed areas, such as Front St in Hamilton and King's Square in St George.

All taxis are equipped with meters. The standard rate (for up to four passengers) is BD$5.75 for the first mile plus BD$2 for each additional mile. If there are five or six passengers the rate is BD$7.19 for the first mile plus BD$2.50 for each additional mile. Prices are 25% higher between midnight and 6am and all day on Sundays and public holidays.

If you need to call for a taxi, Radio Cabs (295-4141), BIU Taxi Co-op (292-4476) and Sandy's Taxi Co (234-2344) are three of the larger dispatchers with a 24-hour service.

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Bicycle

Although not nearly as popular as motor scooters, bicycles are another option for getting around. However, Bermuda's roads are narrow, curving and often hilly, so people planning on bicycling need to be cautious of traffic and expect to work up a sweat. When it's going your way, using the Railway Trail, which is open to bicyclists but not motorized vehicles, is a good way to avoid traffic. Bicycles, by the way, are generally referred to in Bermuda as pedal cycles, to differentiate them from scooters.

The following scooter rental shops rent bicycles for around $35 for the first day and $10 more for each additional day.

Elbow Beach Cycles (236-9237; 60 South Rd, Paget)

Eve's Cycles Paget (236-6247; 114 Middle Rd); St George (236-0839; 1 Water St)

Oleander Cycles (234-0629; Middle Rd, Southampton)

Rental bicycles come in various types but most are mountain bikes. Locks and helmets are provided.

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