Jett bus in Jordan...is it worth it?
To bus or not to bus...that is the question?
Jett Bus is pretty much the only name that pops up on the internet when you are searching for buses around Jordan. But after using them on our 7-day trip I'd rather a hire car next time.
Yes, the buses were comfy (except one which smelt like cigarettes) and their set routes made the trips to Jordan's tourists sites easier but they weren't cheap and together with taxi transfers to and from the bus stop the total costs are comparable to a hire car.
Our 7 day trip to Jordan went went like this:
Day 1: Afternoon arrival in Amman
Day 2: Bus to Petra
Day 3: Petra Day
Day 4: Bus to Wadi Rum & camp overnight
Day 5: Bus back to Amman via Petra
Day 6: Bus to Jerash and back
Day 7: Bus to Dead Sea and back
Day 8: Morning flight out of Amman.
How much did our Jett Bus transport cost?
Our transport expense for 7 days in Jordan was 215JD.
However, the cost of a hire car would've only been 175JD plus fuel for 1000km and I reckon it would've been ~225JD.
What's it like taking a Jett Bus anyway?
So the price is comparable, so why not just go with Jett Bus then and be "chaufeured" around?
A few things we didn't like:
Waiting around for departure
They said to arrive 15 minutes before departure. Which we did and then they departed 30-40 minutes after schedule. We spoke to another traveller who said he used them the day before and they left 2 hours after their scheduled departure. So it seems like your waiting time is luck of the draw.
Navigating through the multiple taxi hawkers to find the real Jett Bus ticket sellers
If you don't buy your tickets in advanced (day before) watch out for taxi/mini bus drivers jumping on you at the bus station when you rock up. Jett Bus drivers seem to tolerate them and let them harass people openly. They will try to tell you Jett bus is full and they will take you in their car for the same price and pool a couple of other travellers together.
This is applicable to all coach or tour bus travel and not just Jett Bus. But we like the freedom of leaving when we want. For example, on the day we took the Jett Bus to the dead sea they dropped us off at 9am and then said they will pick us up at 5pm. We were done with swimming and lunch by 2pm and didn't want to wait around so we took a taxi back anyway.
*Dead Sea tour with Jett Bus warning
If you take Jett Bus to the Dead Sea they will offer two choices for swimming in the Dead Sea. The Spa Hotel & The Movenpick. We chose the Spa Hotel and it was a terrible poor value experience. For 30JD per person you get access to the dead sea and a lunch (burger or pizza). There's no proper shower facilities only those outdoor showers which is pretty much a garden hose. And there's not even hot water!
If you plan to go to the Dead Sea with Jett Bus don't choose their Spa Hotel. We heard the Movenpick is not much better either so you are better off doing other research and spending your money elsewhere. After we shared our story with a local Jordanian he told us we should go to Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea next time. It's double the price but he says if you go to the Dead Sea you have to spend a bit to enjoy yourself and apparently they have a mud spa!
The Dead Sea is on the way to Petra so if we had a car we could have saved some time and visited the Dead sea either on the way to Petra or on the way back. We could then drive to Wadi Rum and we also heard if you drive via the Kings Route it's super scenic.
Stopping at Souvenir Shops
Some people may like visiting souvenir stores but I don't think it's always necessary especially when the route to the dead sea should've only been an hour I don't think we need a souvenir store break.
A note on Public buses. Yes you can take one to Petra.
When we bought the bus tickets to Petra at the Jett bus office we asked him if there was any public bus that went to Petra and he said no. We later learnt that there was but it's unnumbered so you need the locals to point you in the right direction.
We also asked him if there was a public bus to the dead sea and he said no again. We later found out that this is also not true as there is a public bus...
Granted you can't compare a public bus (like an aged Toyota mini van) to Jett bus which are large 50 seater coaches. The ticket salesman was dishonest and that was annoying. We just don't like being lied to and that left us with angry thoughts every time we think of Jett Bus.
For those of you who don't mind the public bus ride I recommend talking to your hostel/hotel owner and they will be able to direct you to the public bus stops which are unmarked and un numbered and don't have a set schedule.
In summary, we are the self guided budget kind of travellers and Jett Bus wasn't the cheapest (could've used public buses) and the cost was comparable to having our own car which would've been ultimate self guiding so we didn't feel like it was that good of value. I'm definitely getting my own car next time we come back to Jordan. (The drivers are crazy but civilized when compared to Cairo!).
Detailed breakdown of our transport costs for those who like numbers.
Cost/numbers are in Jordinian Dinar.
Day 1 Sariyah bus airport to Jett Bus office 6.6
Taxi back from Jett Bus Office 3
Day 2 Taxi to Jett Bus office 4
Jett Bus to Petra 22
Petra bus stop to Hotel 3
Hotel back to Petra 3
Petra back to Hotel 3
Day 3 hotel to Petra 3
Petra to hotel 3
Day 4 Hotel to Bus Stop 3
Bus stop to Wadi Rum 30
Day 5 Wadi rum to Petra 24
Petra to Amman 22
Amman bus terminal to hotel 3
Day 6 hotel to bus terminal 3
bus to Jerash and back to Amman 30
taxi back to hotel 3
Day 7 taxi to bus terminal 3
bus to dead sea 30
taxi to hotel 3
Day 8 taxi to Airport 20