The Mechanic and I, being car-free public transportation and biking-for-transportation advocates, naturally opted to ride the bus in Bermuda to visit Hamilton and St. George’s.
The Breeze Buses are pink. Naturally – pink sand, pink buses…. The routes run all over the island, although on weekends and in the evenings, the service is reduced. The island is divided into zones, and you can get either 3-zone fare or 14-zone fare, depending on how far you want to travel. The routes are charmingly indicated by color – the pink poles indicate stops where the bus is running into Hamilton, and the blue poles indicate routes away from Hamilton. Some of the bus stops are stone huts, and others are just poles stuck wherever possible.
We bought 14-zone tokens from the front desk of Grotto Bay Resort, and then bought a book of 3-zone tickets from the bus depot in Hamilton.
The tricky part to us was remembering that the buses also drive on the opposite side of the road, which means the bus stops are opposite from what we are used to; we would have missed our bus the first time out if I hadn’t suddenly realized that. The scarier part was that sometimes there were nice shelters with pull-in space for the bus and sometimes it was just a pole on the side of the road. And none of the roads we were on had shoulders. Just two lanes of windy roads and close calls. So pedestrians were forced to walk in the road to get out of the street, and vehicles patiently waited until they could safely swing around people on foot. Sometimes the bus stops were next to stone walls, so pedestrians had a ways to go to get out of traffic. It made me nervous watching them, but everyone, drivers included, took it in stride. Is that island life?
We didn’t rent pedal bicycles, as bicycles were called, and after being on the roads a bit, I’m glad we hadn’t. The few cyclists we saw (that is, those on pedal bikes – “Cycle” indicated moped or motor scooter or motor cycle) were roadies and traveling in groups. And the traffic calmly moved around them. Amazing!
The other remarkable thing was the nearly-instantaneous changing light at crosswalks. The first time we pushed the button at a crosswalk near the resort, we assumed we’d have time to pull out cameras, but within mere seconds, the lights changed! We tested them everywhere we could, and yes, in fact, pedestrians never had to wait too long for a green walk signal. What?!?! What crazy place is this?! Unbelievable.
All the traveling around made me regret time away from the beach, so on our last full day, we ditched the idea of taking the bus to other beaches, and just hung out at the resort. Totally worth it – next time* I don’t want to have to leave it at all! Sometimes it’s okay for transportation people to not transport. *Like the way I said “next time”?!?