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Jordan's public transport of which there isn't much, other than buses. Bus routes cover what's necessary for the locals: there is little or no provision for budget travelers wishing to visit out-of- the-way places, and it's impossible to get from one end of the country to the other without making at least two or three changes of bus, With some highly visitable places inaccessible by public transport, the best way to see the whole of Jordan is to rent a car for at least part of your stay.

The most common way of getting between cities is by bus, most of which are small, privately owned fifteen- or eighteen-seated minibuses. There are a few big old government-owned rattletrap buses and a handful of modern air-conditioned tour-buses serving as public transport, but they're rare. Minibus are the only transport option available, but we've only resorted to the term "minibus" when the distinction needs to be made between them and big buses Virtually no timetables are in operation, and buses tend to depart only when they're full. This means that, on less-traveled routes especially, you should factor in sometimes quite considerable waiting time However, once you get going, journeys are rarely arduous -roads are good, and the longest single journey in the country, from Amman to Aqaba, is unlikely to take more than four hours.

Bus fares are very low as a guide; a half- hour hop between towns costs 100-150 fils. Longer journeys -Amman to Jerash, or Zerqa to Azraq -are in the order of 400-500 fils; Amman to Karak is 750 fils. Fares tend to be a little inflated traveling to and from the major tourist sites of Petra and Wadi Rum, but the most you'll ever pay for a single bus ride -from Amman to Aqaba is JD3. Minibuses always have some- one employed to ride up front to keep the driver company and deal with letting people on and off; at some point during the journey, he'll come round to collect fares.

The only times you'll find a choice of bus possibilities is on a handful of long-distance runs, and even then, only two companies operating big air-con buses give an alternative to the ubiquitous minibuses. Jordan Express Tourist Transport, or JETT, has daily timetabled services from Amman to Aqaba, Petra and Hammamat Ma'in, while Hijazi operates between Amman and Irbid it (mainly for students attending Yarmouk University. These offer the advantages of comfort and speed over the minibuses, and JETT even allows you to book in advance (in person only).

On most inter-city routes, shared taxis (universally known as services) tout for business alongside the buses. These are often vintage seven- or eight-seated Mercedes -generally white, but not always -which offer, at a slightly higher price, the single advantage of speed over the same journey by bus. However, being squashed into the back seat of a suspension-challenged heap on a long journey can counter in discomfort what It might be gained in time Services also operated the system of departing when full, but because)- there are fewer seats, they leave more often than buses. If you're carrying bulky or heavy luggage, you may well find that service, and some minibus, drivers will charge you for the space your bags occupy, whether or not they take up seating space.

For getting around within cities, only Amman and Irbid are too big to walk across. Although most other towns have their own systems of short-hop buses and services, all are small enough that you can easily walk between sights. The long, steep hills of Wadi Musa prompt most visitors to resort to taxis. for getting to and from the Petra ticket gate. Bus and service etiquette says that men should sit next to men and women next to women (except for husbands and wives or brothers and a sisters), and you should stick to this rule when you can. No one will be mortally offended if circumstances force you to sit next to a Jordanian of the opposite sex, but- especially for a close-quarters or service journey -other passengers may shuffle themselves around to make more acceptable space for you.


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