It seems like no matter how many garages / teamsters I have working, they're never enough. My factory outputs reach 900+ while my docks are running on empty and not exporting any resources at all. Just as an experiment, I tried having 1 teamsters office and 2 garages per factory and this is still a problem. I sometimes randomly get notifications saying a garage is overloaded, I try to add a new garage as quickly as possible in cases like that.

Is there a set logic on how teamsters work in Tropico? What's the best strategy for distributing resources in your island?

3 Answers 3


Make sure people are working in your garages and teamsters. Raise their salary until they are fully staffed.

Also make sure they have their home nearby. It helps if anything else they need is also close to their job (health, food, entertainment etc) because they have to travel less distance are ready to work again more quickly. Note that people will only work if all their needs (that can be fulfilled) are sufficiently fulfilled. If you build a single church at the other end of the island, people will walk a long time there and back and are not ready to work at all in the meantime.

All the general hints about good economy apply here, too. An even distribution of all kinds of buildings is more efficient in terms of productivity. Do not concentrate everything in one place.

Also, if possible, make sure to build subways. They are far more efficient transportation than anything else. Long distance journeys happen instantly, and very crowded city centers will experience noticeably less traffic once a few subways are built in its perimeter. In particular, people do not need garages as often. Build a subway near the docks, and teamsters will be able to transport goods more quickly without increasing traffic jams.

  • I think your second paragraph might have nailed it. I got so frustrated at one point that I just clicked on a teamster and followed him around for a while. It turned out his home was on the opposite corner of the island, and it was taking forever for him to go back and forth. Commented Dec 3, 2013 at 16:44
  • I did have housing close by, but those were built a while after the industries / teamsters offices were built, so I guess they don't automatically move to a closer house if one is available? I'll try evicting him from his old apartment to see what happens. Commented Dec 3, 2013 at 16:45
  • They tend to move close to their job (or find a job close to their home). It takes some time, to speed it up you can evict him as you said, or lower rent in the intended home building. Also, making the area more beautiful will increase the quality of the building so they'll be more likely to move there.
    – mafu
    Commented Dec 4, 2013 at 11:23

Here is some observations I made with Tropico 3. I don't know how much of this applies to Tropico 4 or 5, since I don't have those games. I imagine the game mechanic is similar if not identical (confirmation appreciated).

1) There are generally two types of buildings: Ones that provide vehicles, and others that remove vehicles, when Tropicans interact with those buildings. For example, a builder can walk into the construction office by foot and leave with a truck. But a teacher can't use the construction office to get a car. Interaction is required.

2) A garage is a special type of building since all Tropicans can just go there and get a vehicle for whatever it is they are doing.

3) Tropicans will pick the fastest way to move where they need to go.

I think the buildings that have a road-access are generally the ones that provide vehicles, regardless whether people arrived on foot or with a vehicle. Some of them are:

  • Teamster office
  • Mines
  • Port
  • Construction office
  • Furniture Factory

Some buildings that will cause Tropicans to "abandon" their vehicles are:

  • Farms
  • Logging Camps
  • Clinics
  • Churches
  • Apartments and houses

So what does this mean in practice? Some examples will help:

  • A teamster can arrive at the teamster office on foot, he will then leave in a truck and go to the logging camp. Upon arriving there, he'll abandon the truck, get to the camp, and get the logs. If there is a garage nearby, he'll manually move the logs there and load them into a truck. If there is no garage, he will deliver the logs manually all the way.

  • A teamster who delivers logs to the lumber mill either by foot or by truck, will abandon the truck there. He'll either walk to his next destination or to a nearby garage to get another car.

  • A teamster can deliver lumber from the lumber mill to the furniture factory either by foot or by truck, but he will always leave in a truck and go wherever he'll go next (be it home, to the church, back to the office, etc.)

  • A teamster who delivers anything to the port will leave in a vehicle (I think, needs confirmation). I'm certain that when he delivers in a truck, he'll also leave in a truck.

Some other basic assumptions:

  • You cannot exactly predict where people will live and work. They may live east and work west of the island.

  • Tropicans will get healthcare and similar things whenever it is needed.

Understanding those principles lets us plot a building strategy to improve transportation routes:

  • Houses need garages nearby so teamsters get to the office quickly
  • Teamster offices do not need garages nearby, they already provide vehicles
  • Some production needs garages nearby so the goods are transported from there on wheels, not on foot
  • Public buildings (church etc.) need garages so people can get back to work/home quicker.
  • The port doesn't need a garage nearby
  • When building on a new part of the island, build a garage first as it allows builders to get back from the build-site and go home much faster.

TL;DR: Build a lot of garages everywhere :)

  • Awesome observation! If you can help answer a subquestion for me: So, because Tropicans go to the Teamster Office before picking up the resource, the Teamster Office should be built near their residence, or in the area of the producer?
    – pepoluan
    Commented Jul 31, 2018 at 6:01

The guy before me pretty much nailed it but as a general tip remember to have plenty of road with alternate routes in order to help prevent traffic jams, especially in your more residential and industry areas.

  • This is true in essence, but I would like to add that too many roads are bad as well, because intersections do slow down traffic considerably. It has to be balanced, and well thought through, to be most efficient.
    – mafu
    Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 18:12

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