Staggered time is a cost effective short term remedy

| 21/01/2016 | 36 Comments

Cayman News ServiceMario E. Ebanks writes: One idea/solution that would assist with the chronic “rush hour” traffic congestion on Grand Cayman is staggered time, basically a “shift” system which sets the arrival and departure time of employees (and maybe school children as well) from their workplaces. Is it necessary for every administrative or “white collar” worker to arrive at work at 8:30am and finish at 5:00pm, regardless of their industry, district of residence, transportation capabilities, and other circumstances?

From the mid 1980’s I have advocated staggered time. For a number of years I have “staggered” my mornings to arrive at work at 9:00am. The problem is that my own self-imposed departure time from work is “until …”, which is usually later than a normal staggered departure time.

Nevertheless, it works perfectly for me. If I leave West Bay at 8:40am, I can normally arrive to work in George Town by 9:00am, unless there is an accident or some extra bottle-neck at Camana Bay.

If I need to get to George Town for 8:00am I need to leave West Bay by 7:15 because I can expect a 20 minute delay at the existing (and soon to be corrected) Camana Bay bottleneck. If I need to get to George Town by 8:30am I have to leave West Bay by 7:30, on account of the fixed school hour’s traffic and the Camana Bay bottleneck. So I save between 40 minutes and 25 minutes (plus avoiding the other stressors) each day by making the choice to start work at 9:00am.

Traffic congestion, especially if preventable, causes a lack of productivity, stress on the part of drivers, could get you into a bad mood to begin your work day, could result in road rage, causes wear and tear on your vehicle, costs extra money on fuel consumption, and releases more gases into the atmosphere (pollution).

If you come from the Eastern Districts of Grand Cayman, it is even worse. If I drive from Rum Point on work/school days, in order to be to work at 8:30am I better make sure that I do not leave Rum Point any later than 6:45am, and this traffic is bumper-to-bumper all the way from Bodden Town.

However, if I want to arrive into George Town by 9:00am, I can leave Rum Point by 8:15am, and the traffic is flowing normally into central George Town. A savings of one hour plus none of the other disadvantages.

How many vehicles are registered in Cayman? Are you in favour of a limit on the number or size of vehicles per family, as exists in some other countries? Are you in favour of a massive increase in import duties on vehicles to discourage the importation of vehicles? Are you in favour of paying more taxes to build additional roads? For example, how will a bottle-neck into George Town be prevented even if the new by-pass road is constructed? Do we have spare and suitable land available to build additional roads? Are you in favour of car-pooling?

Your answers to the above questions will probably be a resounding ‘no’. So, do workable and cost-effective alternatives exist? One thing is for sure, if we do not change something soon, we will have a major problem with vehicular mobility in Cayman, similar to other industrialized cities, such as New York or Sao Paulo, but we do not have sub-ways, bridges/skyways, helicopter transportation, or water taxis.

I therefore recommend, again, staggered time, which could be considered by a bi-partisan committee of government and the private sector, and be considered along with the school hours (which may also be staggered on a “shift”, as happens in some countries).

For example, based on a business or an individual needs or circumstances and to ensure proper coverage at work, the following options could be offered:
a) 7:30am to 4:00pm, with the existing unpaid lunch break allowed;
b) 8:00am to 4:30pm, with the same lunch break;
c) 8:30am to 5:00pm, with the same lunch break;
d) 9:00am to 5:30pm, with the standard lunch break also.

This is my personal opinion and independent of my employer or any association or society to which I belong.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags: , ,

Category: Viewpoint

Comments (36)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    Its Friday!! Tonight will definitely be Staggering Time!! Hell Yes!

  2. Kermit The Frog says:

    A large percentage of those working in offices can do what they do from home. But that is none of my business.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Park & ride water taxis? Park in West Bay and get a boat to GT or Camana Bay.. Same for East End, Bodden Town & Kaibo. Cheap, efficient, fun!

  4. Anonymous says:

    It will be very difficult for this to work as during the school term people with kids have to leave home early to ensure that their kids are to school on time therefore a staggered shift for,them will be of no benefit to them

  5. Anonymous says:

    Mario please. Yes you allowed flex time at the DLP and those who came in on the early shift spent that time chatting and reading the paper and then at 8.30-9.00am they go and get coffee and/or patties.

  6. Anonymous says:

    My my my Mario is very vocal now that he has left the DLP. Maybe if he had arrived to work there before 10am each day he could have sorted out the departments “legacy issues”.

    • Anonymous says:

      Staggering his start time gave him the chance to write the long list of reasons why his complete failure was everyone else’s fault.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Anyone thought of car sharing? Just look at how many of the cars at the time just after school drop off have single occupants.

    • Great idea @8:58am 22/1/16….but the problem is a word called “discipline”!…and also perhaps “sacrifice”!….when you find it here…let me know because both; if used properly BY THE PEOPLE, would solve many of our problems.
      Nuff said….

  8. Anonymous says:

    My boss is always outside @ 8:30am on her cigarette break (aka: watching to see who is coming in late) One day I came in at 8:33 and she struck up a conversation with me about Cricket no less while giving the side eye to her watch but I saw what she did there!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Mario please provide examples of when you did this and how it work out for the Company?

  10. Anonymous says:

    What Cayman really needs is a 21st century public transport system that accommodates all districts utilising larger commercial buses instead of the ridiculous mini vans that ply their trade at the moment.
    Try looking at Bermuda for an example of efficient public transport. They run a continuous route around the archipelago, with buses arriving at frequent stops every 15 or 20 minutes. They service all areas and carry school children, commuters and tourists at reasonable fares.
    If Cayman was serious about reducing congestion it would try to reduce the number of cars on the roads at peak times and regulate a hire car industry that appears to have expanded enormously over the past decade.
    You will need to offer commuters and tourists an efficient and reasonably priced alternative to their reliance on cars, and this should include buses, taxis and ferry services across the North Sound.

    • Anonymous says:

      But it would cost wotes. It is prime example of great idea a leader would ensure happened while Premier. But the feckless excuses Cayman has had recently would never do the right thing if it risked costing them wotes.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think you will find the Bermuda bus service costs a lot of Government money, granted the costs of building more roads or ending with gridlock may be more over time, just that the resource in Bermuda isn’t cheap. They also are about 1/4 the size of Cayman so a concentration of passengers is amplified.

  11. Fred the piemaker says:

    So If half your workers go for option a and the other half option b you will end up with only 6 work hours when the whole team is at work together – even less if they do not take lunch at the same time.

  12. Anonymous says:

    But Mario if we do this would this not be going counter to your daylight savings time crap?

    Are you saying you want both? What time do you go into to work in the morning? He who feels it, knows it, son…stop talking out of both sides of your mouth..

  13. PC Plod says:

    In reference to the question about how to prevent bottlenecks.
    A couple of ideas I would have would be STAY/ GET IN LANE EARLY, AND USE YOUR TURNING LIGHTS, ASSH013S!!!!!

  14. Anonymous says:

    cayman had a perfect opportunity to decentralise with the building of the gov admin building….
    but instead of revitilising outer eastern districts they decided to centralise everything in the already congested george town…..
    welcome to wonderland….

  15. SSM345 says:

    Staggered work times because of traffic? What a pile of garbage.

    How about just being an adult and getting your ass to work on time, which means leaving before the school rush instead of at 8:25?

  16. Uncivil Servant says:

    Or everyone works for the Civil Service and comes and goes as they please.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Must be nice to arrive at 9.00 Mario. Those of us in the private sector fighting to keep Cayman afloat are at our desks well before then, and leaving at 5pm? What planet are you on?

    • anon says:

      Although there are many people who work extended hours I think you will find that the VAST majority of people work at their office from 8.30 to 5 – if they didn’t then traffic congestion at these specific times wouldn’t be an issue.

      So instead of taking nonsense swipes at what is a reasonable suggestion maybe you should try thinking about the thousands of people who have a family life and do like to spend a few hours a day with their children before bedtime.

      What many of these 8.30 and 5pm commuters do is logon remotely later in the evening to complete necessary work or log back on because they actually like what they do and want to do some more.

      This suggestion is not going to work for every team but its a pretty solid suggestion, not just for relieving traffic but also for helping all of us maintain that ellusive work/life balance that should be a priority for everyone. Happy workers are productive workers and it is a complete waste of everyones time to sit in traffic. This suggestion is not the panacea – its not meant to be either – but it is an idea that could be used to provide a modicum of relief.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Let me get this straight. Mario argues for DST, and also argues for staggered work hours?

    Staying on EST is a way to stagger work hours. Moving to DST means more people on the same work schedule.

  19. Anonymous says:

    My staff get in and have to stay when they are told. As long as they are they are in at those times when they set off on their journeys is up to them. I am not changing established work practices so they can shave 5 minutes off their commute.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I think if those that really feel that moving to DST or moving the clocks ahead one hour is a good thing and those that don’t didn’t, then you would have your solution automatically. Some would argue that no-one would know what time it is in Cayman-answer is as far as CIG and CS is concerned it doesn’t matter and those that have international business can just do as they please. If tourists are watching their clocks then we are doing a bad job. Of course excursion timing-make the pick up at sunrise. All said tongue in cheek of course.

    • Anonymous says:

      Many government workers already do this.
      They come on later at 9:00 or 9:30 to help alleviate traffic. The same ones leave between 4:00 and 4:30. The sacrifices they make for us are truly great.
      Note: some of us arrive early and leave late every day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.