Públicos are essentially public minibuses that run prescribed routes during daylight hours. Traveling via público offers a great local experience, but requires a lot of patience and time. Some públicos make relatively long hauls between places such as San Juan and Ponce or Mayagüez, but most make much shorter trips, providing a link within and between communities.
Comfort Van rides are not especially comfortable, as drivers will try to put as many passengers in one van as possible. Vans can be old, stinky and extremely hot and crowded. Travel can be slow as the driver stops frequently to let people on and off.
Cost Público is by far the most inexpensive way to travel long distances in Puerto Rico. The longest run on the island (about three hours) will not cost more than $15. It depends on the number of passengers, the vehicle and, quite often, the driver.
Destinations The destination will be clearly written in the front window of the van. If you go to an unusual destination, you will likely be stranded for a return trip.
Frequency Públicos will leave when the van is full. In the early morning and evening, when people are going to and from work, the terminals will be most busy. Some públicos, such as the ones that run to popular beaches, may only operate on the weekend.
Schedules For fares and schedules, inquire with locals any place públicos stop. There is no central source of info.
Terminals There will be major público terminals near the center of every midsized or large city. Elsewhere, públicos make their pickups and drop-offs at a van stand on or near a town’s central plaza.
Taxis are available in most of the mid-sized to large cities on the island. Often, flagging a taxi in a public plaza is faster than calling for one. Drivers almost never use meters, so establish the cost before beginning your journey. San Juan is the exception to this: its government-regulated ‘tourist taxis’ have fixed rates.
San Juan has an efficient bus system and a metro (Tren Urbano), which will eventually expand to cover places like Caguas. Elsewhere services are more casual.