When you go to the Uber website, Jamaica is not listed on the global cities list. If it is not on the Uber website, then regular Uber service doesn’t exist there. However, Uber reported to local Jamaican news sources that its app has been available in the country since June 15, 2021.
Uber service in Jamaica isn’t easy to understand. When traveling, follow the laws of the country you visit and stay away from anything complicated or confusing. Uber released a statement that it operates in Jamaica via a lease agreement for a “vehicle-with-driver.” Yet Jamaica is not listed on the Uber website for its rideshare service.
For safety reasons, people should follow all information on the Uber website when deciding where to utilize its service. Since Uber doesn’t seem to confirm their service in Jamaica officially on their website, any Uber service in Jamaica seems sketchy at this time. It looks like it is time to think about using other modes of transportation to get around the island.
Is Uber in Jamaica?
On June 15, 2021, Uber started up a test market in Kingston, Jamaica. Some news outlets said that the app is more for the “vehicle-with-driver” and customer to connect. Basically, the customer needs to enter an agreement privately leasing the vehicle and driver for the duration of their ride each time they use the service; this is how they are trying to get around the legal complications.
Uber is a ridesharing application where people can either sign up to become drivers or request rides as passengers. However, some people believe Uber is a disruptive technology, and many think it could harm the local market in Jamaica.
It has not been as easy for Uber to integrate into Jamaica as it has been in other places worldwide. Costa Rica also had some problems initially when Uber entered the country. You can find more information about those issues in this article (“Is Uber in Costa Rica?”).
If Not Uber in Jamaica, then What?
If it isn’t possible to use Uber to get around while on vacation, other options are available for tourists. Taking some time to research your options beforehand can help prepare you for your trip.
Taxis Instead of Uber
All taxi drivers in Jamaica have to follow the Transport Authority Act and the Road Traffic Act, good news for tourists.
All taxis must have the following: a red license plate, the correct insurance coverage, a driver’s licence, and a ‘taxi’ sign on the roof.
In addition, they all need to pass a background test by the police and display their ID badge from the Transport Authority. Many meters don’t work correctly, so people should negotiate a price before the trip starts.
Cars with white licence plates are not real taxis. They drive illegally, and locals refer to them as “robots.” Pay attention to not use these for service. There are about 40,000 illegal taxis on the roads in Jamaica.
A route taxi is also available. It is comparable to a bus and its course displayed on its window. Route taxis are a shared ride. The taxi driver can pick up other people while you are driving. This option is a legal service, and the fares are lower since it is not a private service.
‘876 On the Go’ Rather than Uber
This option is a rideshare app similar to Uber that runs in Jamaica. You can download the app here.
Buses in Place of Uber
Public buses run in Kingston and Montego Bay. It is an inexpensive option that often entails long waits and a crowded environment. Legal buses have red licence plates with white lettering, showing that the service is insured and licensed.
Renting a Car in Jamaica
Many people recommend not renting a car during your first trip to Jamaica. Vehicles operate on the opposite side of the road than the USA, driving on the left side. There is heavy traffic, and Jamaicans are known to be aggressive on the road. For a more peaceful vacation, it is recommended to choose something other than a car rental.
A Little More about Uber Outside of Jamaica
Even though Uber isn’t reliable in Jamaica these days, you can find excellent service in other parts of the world.
If you fly into Miami, learn more about requesting an Uber there (“how to Uber from Miami airport”). Costa Rica has reliable Uber service in the Central Valley; read more about it here (“Is Uber in Costa Rica?“). Read about Uber in Kauai here (“Is Uber in Kauai?”).
To learn more about Uber and how it’s different from Lyft, click here (“are Uber and Lyft the same company”).
You can also give the gift of Uber by purchasing Uber gift cards. Learn more here (“how to use uber gift card”).