Complaints reveal chaos in bus sector

| 15/05/2018 | 104 Comments
Cayman News Service

Bus depot in George Town, Grand Cayman

(CNS): Documents released by the tourism ministry detailing hundreds of reported complaints made about bus and taxi drivers throughout 2017 paint a picture of chaos within the Cayman Islands Public Transport Unit. From drivers falling asleep at the wheel and crashing while carrying visitors to fighting and squabbling over poaching passengers, many of the men and women behind the wheels of the public transport system appear to be falling far short of the Caymankind brand promoted by the Department of Tourism. 

The documents were originally released following a freedom of information (FOI) request and have now become available to the public.

More than 380 complaints were made last year, many of which reflect a worrying amount of animosity between the public bus drivers themselves, as well as between them, the tour bus operators and taxi drivers who were all fighting for passengers, compounded by what appears to be a growth in the number of illegal operators.

The record of the complaints is dominated by drivers who have been reported, often by their own colleagues as well as passengers, for not completing the formal routes, veering off the official routes and not checking in or being properly dispatched by the public transport bus depot.

Drivers going to the eastern districts of East End and North Side were the worst offenders for not completing their routes, in some cases leaving passengers bound for the furthest districts stranded in Bodden Town. Meanwhile, George Town drivers were most likely to divert off their routes to poach passengers.

The documents revealed eye-watering over-charging by taxi drivers; in one case a driver charged a couple $200 to take them from the port to the Crystal Caves in North Side. Some complaints were about taxis taking people to the wrong destinations and charging them anyway, and there are documented cases of taxi drivers as well as tour and bus drivers being rude to their passengers.

There were also numerous reports of very dangerous driving and speeding, and several near-misses of people and children who were almost hit by buses as they got off.

Positive drug test for prescription drugs, such as opiates, are common, as well as positive tests for ganja. And there were even cases of family members begging the PTU not to allow their elderly relatives to carry on working because they have dementia and other worrying health conditions.

The complaints revealed fights and drivers threatening to kill each other, and even acts of “Obeah” or witchcraft between rival drivers. There were also complaints about buses infested with insects, broken windows and other damage to the vehicles, as well drivers not in uniform, hustling tourists and even cheating at their general knowledge test, all of which leaves a negative impression with visitors.

In one very troubling incident reported to the PTU in January, a passenger on the West Bay to George Town bus route fell into the bus stairwell as she tried to pay the driver. It later turned out the woman had broken her leg and foot. But when she begged the driver for help, as she was in considerable pain, he not only refused to assist the badly injured woman but insisted she get off his bus because he needed to go and get his breakfast.

Fortunately another bus driver came to her aid, putting her on his bus and then taking her to the hospital. According to the documents, statements were collected and sent to the Public Transport Board, which found that the driver had not been negligent and the case was closed.

In many cases where serious complaints were made, drivers were suspended and licences revoked, while others quit or filed to renew their licences. The PTU was not always able to make full investigations because not enough information was given and in many cases complainants wanted to remain anonymous or refused to give a formal statement, making it harder for the management to pursue every infraction.

However, the reports also show incidences where drivers were extremely helpful, as the complaints log also documents reports of lost property and passengers leaving their belongings in buses and taxis; in many cases drivers go out of their way to return the bags, wallets, phones and other personal items to their owners.

But the litany of complaints paints a distressing picture, given that in many cases bus and taxi drivers are among the first people that visitors encounter when landing in Cayman. While there are clearly many drivers who truly represent the Caymankind brand, there is apparently no shortage of drivers who are being anything but kind.

CNS was sent the documents in Winmail.dat format which we are having trouble opening (the complaints are in there). If anyone can help us with this, we will make them public, as is our usual practice.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Category: Business, Local News, Tourism

Comments (104)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    So UBER won’t hire Jamaicans?




    1



    0
  2. eyehavenoIdeer says:

    Unfortunate to say but…. most bus drivers are Jamaican and drive like they are still in Jamaica (Kingston not mobay) Has anyone been driven in Jamaica lol?? Talk about adrenaline rush.

    My next car will be a fork lift so the next bus driver that pulls out in front of me when Im going 40 mph it will be the last time they do it.




    16



    2
  3. Obeahman Taxi Company says:

    No fool fool torists afi tel wi wha fi doo sa, dem haf fi pay wi wat wi fi charg dem wi run tings! inna dis ya likle place police courts




    5



    17
  4. "Anonymousir" says:

    the damn buses do whatever, and the police and gov will do nothing about it … all bus drivers are reckless and like to pull out in front of oncoming traffic. make the bus hit you! it will be their fault!




    15



    0
  5. Anonymous says:

    Uber will not solve anything. You have to pick people with an education. The same reason it’s not working in taxis and public busses will be the same reason it don’t work. You can’t have a society where there is no enforcement of the law. Please… look at Immigration, Customs, Port Authority? Are you kidding me? What, these people not making enough money? Is it not greed thats causing them to lose their jobs?
    Okay, watch people driving on the road, look at who they are? They driving a bus or a cab? Why are they racing? what about the tint? Uber candidates? Give me a break. Enforcement of the law!!




    24



    10
  6. Anonymous says:

    This has been going on for decades. Everyone has their favourite story or 10 of being ripped off by local taxis or nearly killed by one. The industry is clearly in need of proper regulation but for whatever reason CIG doesn’t want to step in. Usually that means important pockets are being kept full by the status quo.




    42



    1
  7. Tim says:

    We need independent transport board and free away from the government. And install all bus and taxi with GPS trackers also all taxi with fare meter. That will be fair for everyone, drivers and customers.




    22



    1
    • Anonymous says:

      Well…this is the cayman ISLANDS hmm… If we stop importing trash we will stop facing massive pollution. Face it, then face this.




      8



      2
  8. Anonymous says:

    Remember when they brought those two double decker buses in and couldn’t use them??




    11



    0
    • Anonymous says:

      And now with Dart’s tunnels it may be they never can anyway.




      5



      5
      • Anonymous says:

        The ones that have greater clearance than the traffic lights and the low hanging data cables everywhere? Or some other ones?




        7



        1
        • Anonymous says:

          The buses that couldn’t be used because there was a stupid law about them driving over bridges in Cayman when there isn’t any bridges in Cayman?




          5



          0
  9. John says:

    They have all these issues and yet they are holding back the young local company Flex.




    41



    3
  10. IT Support says:

    You can open the winmail.dat file here: https://www.winmaildat.com/

    CNS:
    I’ve managed to open the winmail.dat file but there’s a bunch of files in that which I can’t open. Appreciate any help.




    0



    4
  11. Anonymous says:

    I’ve never received a call from Public Transportation. For the bus driver driving off the road and turning over the bus with myself, then 3 year old and other passengers.

    Just another one of those complaints that were thrown on the back burner.




    37



    1
  12. Mark says:

    We need a proper Government public bus service done .. .. .. ..




    28



    2
  13. Anonymous says:

    No doubt it’s safe to presume that the complaints actually filed represent a small percentage of the problems – most of us don’t bother to file a complaint because we know it’s pointless.

    This island is overdue for a proper, functioning public transport system and a metered and regulated corps of professional taxi drivers. Uber or something like it would be a bonus for tourists and residents alike.

    Why doesn’t it happen? Like so many other problems that could be solved relatively easily – there’s no political will lest a few noisy voters be hard done by or forced to abide by real world standards.




    33



    2
  14. Anonymous says:

    The taxi game is an unregulated hustle. They are rude, over-charge and drive like lunatics. The drivers represent our islands and are often the first ‘locals’ tourists meet outside of their hotel, only be scammed or spat at. A real shame.




    65



    1
  15. Anonymous says:

    I would like to say that I had a very nice bus driver. I don’t remember his name but he dropped me off at the airport. He didn’t mind going a little out of the way to drop me there.




    15



    5
  16. Anonymous says:

    Casting Obeah?!?! LOL welcome to little JamRock…




    39



    0
    • Anonymous says:

      I thought Obeah and things of that sort is illegal in the Cayman Islands. So they take away people personal massagers but wont prosecute this Obeah casting bus driver? LOL




      30



      0
  17. Pickle Rick says:

    The sad truth is that many people will opt to drive drunk for 5-10 minutes rather than pay gouged prices for the same distance. In any other country for a night out and without question, I use Uber. LISTEN TO THE PUBLIC’S OPINION FOR ONCE




    38



    2
  18. Anonymous says:

    You guys, the same thing happens everything taxis are written about. We all complain and say our grievances and have valid reasons for why the government should do something…. But nothing ever gets done. So why do we keep complaining and never get any answers? Seriously, how can we get this to change?




    23



    1
  19. Anonymous says:

    This problem ( and the many others like it) can not be fixed by the very persons who cause it This island is run by fools for fools. Get used to it. Plan on it. Find your own way around it. Drive like you know there is a bus parked in the road around every blind corner, Drive around buses on the side like you know they will cut you off, Drive like its a big game of chicken and you will be much safer.




    26



    3
  20. Anonymous says:

    trench rown rock!? just another extension…




    13



    2
  21. Anonymous says:

    The difference between riding with a company like Flex (Uber/Lift whatever) is that there is an immediate option to give feedback and it is logged on that drivers profile. AND, the cost is loaded in the app so NO cheating!!!

    THIS is one reason the existing drivers on the island refuse to sign up. You can see this by the above article regarding the number of complaints.
    You also cannot overcharge with these apps. THIS is the only other reason local drivers will not sign up.
    WE NEED FLEX!!! And yes, it will cut down on the drunk driving. That is a promise.
    I have an idea, let’s try it!!!




    44



    3
  22. Anonymous says:

    The Ministry of Transport, Port Authority and Turtle Farm strikes again!!




    50



    0
  23. Mokes-for-all says:

    Phase out the regional minibuses, and substitute them with a regular service of small proper buses (don’t know the technical term), branded in “Caymankind”, with a set fee between and within districts. Call them “Ching-Chings”. I hereby allow Government to run with my idea. You’re welcome.




    47



    4
    • Anonymous says:

      Yes but it could take years for a decision to be made. They may form a committee, where no one makes a decision and eventually hire a consultant to write a report, which will be filed in the consultant recommendation grave.




      22



      1
    • Anonymous says:

      I would catch a Ching Ching into work




      17



      2
  24. Anonymous says:

    Fust o all, plenny dem man nah s’pose be deh!!




    19



    16
  25. Ai Noe says:

    We have had greedy and discourteous bus and taxi drivers for many years. Why would anyone expect change? The people in charge don’t care!




    85



    1
    • Anonymous says:

      The situation is so short sighted. I don’t bother going out in the evenings any more unless I’ve got a lift home; waiting an hour to get ripped off at the end of a night is a complete downer. On the plus side it must save me the best part of ten grand a year in restaurant and bar bills.




      38



      1
  26. Fair and Balanced says:

    Don’t worry, this will be fixed by another apology from the Deputy Governor, to quiet things down temporarily and then nothing really happens. Remember the apology for garbage, have all the problems gone away?




    68



    0
  27. Anonymous says:

    Any tourist that visit I tell them to avoid taxis cause they will be ripped off. We need uber or flex to serve like Uber.




    58



    6
    • Anonymous says:

      The same people who drive those. Actually what you need in this deeply religious country is people to show respect to others by not ripping them off.




      14



      0
  28. Cheese Face says:

    I was once dropped by a female taxi driver, who got out at my house dropped her drawers and pissed all over the street outside my driveway. I couldn’t actually stop laughing but then I may have had a couple of rums. Not sure what a tourist would have thought of it though.




    47



    1
  29. Anonymous says:

    I was charged $33 from Gov Harbour to airport the other morning ! Outrageous. He said it was due to the 5AM pickup. Last time I took a cab it was $23. This has to stop. If the cabs were metered properly, they would be used more and my guess the # of DUI’s would drop




    92



    3
    • Anonymous says:

      ya i got conned for that 5am thing too. Cost me 25 dollars from the post office down town to the airport. Literally a 5 min journey.
      and normally 15 dollars. But he said, it’s a 5am pickup so it’s an extra 10 dollars. What could I do. If I didn’t pay i would have been late for my flight.




      15



      2
      • Anonymous says:

        What you can do is ask the driver to show you the official schedule of rates they are all obliged to carry. That is what they can charge and it does not include any 5am premium BS. If they don’t carry the schedule and many don’t then that is their problem.




        11



        2
        • Anonymous says:

          and the fact of the matter is, If i took your tact, he says “okay, bye bobo”. What do i do? Call another cab, who is more than likely going to do the same thing? You don’t think they all talk among themselves?
          So either walk to the airport or accept the rip off. I mean, that would have been everyone’s choice at that point.




          3



          0
      • Anonymous says:

        I would’ve gone in and said I needed to get cash from the ATM. Checked into my flight got through security and not done a damn thing because if they overcharge that’s their problem not yours.




        5



        1
      • Mc says:

        Supposedly between midnight and 6:00 am there is a taxi fare increase




        2



        0
  30. Anonymous says:

    Who has oversight of licensing buses and taxis, ensuring that they are roadworthy, and that the owners/drivers have appropriate and adequate insurance. Government has to update the licensing of taxis making it mandatory that they are fitted with meters which are officially calibrated and sealed, to prevent tampering.




    51



    2
  31. Anonymous says:

    I have submitted dashcam video to the PTU of poor bus and taxi driving. All I get is ‘they will investigate’. Be glad to send it to CNS for publishing.

    CNS: Sure! info@caymannewsservice.com




    62



    3
  32. Real buses says:

    Uber/ Flex is fine for a taxi solution but we need better buses – for mothers with prams; carers with wheelchair bound patients etc. Modern buses are wide enough to accept a wheelchair; can lower to the ground for the wheelchair and elderly; and can comfortably hold 40-50 people. When are we going to bring in some of these? Less of the Toyota minivans and a proper 24/7 public transport solution.




    38



    8
    • Anonymous says:

      You see how they drive with a mini-van. Can you imagine the same driving with a 30ft -50ft long bus?




      36



      1
    • Anonymous says:

      I think this is the number one easy fix for this island. The amount of money being put into roads could fund a proper bus system with good job for local people with proper benefits.

      Can you imagine what it is going to cost to maintain all these roads?

      Can you imagine the increased productivity if we equipped these buses with tables so people could use their laptops/phones etc for a quick e-mail.

      With technology, you can now find out exactly where the next bus is and go out to a stop before hand. There is no more waiting in the sun and so a lot of people would take buses esp if you made car ownership more difficult. People have to realise this is not the USA so one cannot expect to have a car because we don’t have that kind of landmass.

      Houses are being knocked down just to build roads and occupying lands that could be used for houses. That is using up precious real estate.

      So that each house in cayman was issued a certain amount of tickets per bedroom/sq ft allowing operation of a set number of motor vehicles. Driving would become a luxury and gone would be the days of some yards having 15 people driving 15 cars and would help keep buses full.

      People do love there cars so I expect a lot of thumbs down but hey what to do




      25



      8
      • Anonymous says:

        I love cars and I like driving, but I don’t like sitting in traffic and wasting what could be otherwise productive time. I also like to go for out for a drink on the weekend and not have to think about how I will get home. So give me a decent bus system any day and I’ll keep my car for shopping on Saturday :).




        13



        1
  33. Coe. says:

    I took st taxi to the airport on 24th April, 2018. I was charged US$50. For a pickup on Birch Tree Hill Road, West Bay. Was toldby the taxi driver the rates go up after 12 am. Can anyone help?




    15



    6
  34. Anonymous says:

    The public bus companies of the past offered Gov’t to solve mounting issues that have presented these problems today. We asked for subsistence to keep poor routes going with service. The Eastern districts do not have enough people using busses to pay for fuel or a driver more or less for wear and tear. The realitiy is you can’t offer free bus service. There isn’t any business that can run at a loss. 25 years ago problems have bloomed into the sad state of affairs today.
    Why are there so many unqualified foreigners working in these industries? Why are there so many taxi, tour busses, and especially public bus operators? People complain about no busses in south sound? Well they have it now, where are the customers?
    Did anybody ask the taxi fare to Crystal cave? Its $75 one way the last time I checked. Did they need a ride back? Did they understand Taxis around the world charge for waiting? When people complain or hear of complaints why didn’t they check the GOV’T approved Taxi rates?
    Tourism is still adding tour busses into the rank and file at the Royal Watler port. Why now ? We only have 2-3 days of work with one ship per day? Isn’t it common sense that would cause a problem?
    We have 135 vehicles that pull a number out of a box to hope to get a trip for the day. With maybe one trip going to the beach for the day.
    You pull a number disk out of a box and pray. Then you go to the North terminal and taxi drivers who come out late come to your taxi or bus door and steal your customers? Really? We have Stingray City bookers yelling at tourists, you have taxi and bus drivers yelling and then you have prebook dispatchers yelling to get there people together. The only ones that are not yelling are the port dispatchers they don’t dispatch.You call the police and they can’t do anything? Not even a ticket? On top of that people with jobs like police or other Gov’t jobs have been given taxi or tour bus licenses? Wasn’t that a law that says Gov’t workers couldn’t do that?
    Uber drivers sound great? But its going to be the same situation.Without any enforcement like fines and and supension nothing will work properly. Before Tourism think they know what the problem is, ask we will be glad to tell you.




    12



    11
    • Anonymous says:

      Trust that flex will make it a whole lot better. Do some research into how Uber works. If you are not licensed with Uber you cannot pick up passengers as an Uber driver, it all goes through the app and you are paid electronically. Nothing about anyone poaching your passengers.




      24



      2
    • Anonymous says:

      Anonymous 11:07pm you sound like you may be a driver. Let me tell you what we, the travelling public, think about your above complaints. WE DON’T CARE!!! We just want a ride. Don’t care about your pettiness. We just want a ride.
      Seriously. Dead true.
      The difference between riding with a company like Flex (Uber/Lift whatever) is that there is an immediate option to give feedback and it is logged on that drivers profile. THIS is one reason the existing drivers on the island refuse to sign up. You can see this by the above article on the number of complaints.
      You also cannot overcharge with this app. THIS is the only other reason local drivers will not sign up.




      10



      3
  35. Anonymous says:

    Say what you want, but at 2 dolla a ride, the busses are an island Best Buy.




    13



    6
  36. Anonymous says:

    Cayman’s taxis are a national disgrace. Strand to Kimpton, single person $50. Thieves!




    55



    3
    • Anonymous says:

      You should’ve recorded the id# and driver’s ID, that fare for that distance for 1-3 people is $10 us or $8ci.




      17



      0
  37. Anonymous says:

    Whacky races style bus service fits our banana republic to a tee. Please don’t modernise it our heritage is at stake – sarcasm in case someone doesn’t get it. We’ve imported this mess and we should send it back from whence it originated from, but then again DOT has been fostering this so keep it. Don’t tell me previous years were complaint free, who is supposed to act on these complaints and what are the penalties if any for infractions? We’ve had one reported bus related death in 2017, how many near deaths were there. I wouldn’t ride one of these Cayman Coffins on wheels if I was paid.
    Same old CIG skivers hand out licences like giving out candy and do nothing to monitor or enforce. All they show up to work for is to read their pattie and eat their newspaper. Yes that’s wah I said, think about it. We get all that we deserve, we’ve crapped in our own bed for decades now all of a sudden we’re awake and neck deep in it.
    Privatisation is the only way for this one. Then at least we can hold some entity of substance accountable for failing to meet first world standards.

    Viva la republica banana!




    21



    2
  38. Anonymous says:

    All taxi’ s should be metered show ID and the complaint procedure, but this will never happen with the corrupt practise sponsored not just by this government but all MLA’s who only think off there pension and salary.
    The recent audits by the AG’s office show this country to what it really is no better than Nigeria and it makes me sick when I have to cast my vote.




    78



    3
    • Wosh Wosh says:

      Metering won’t solve the dishonesty problem. All they need to do is take a longer route. Then you will still get a date disparity between any two points.




      12



      4
    • Anonymous says:

      Meters…? You can’t get Jamaicans to use meters.




      27



      3
  39. Anonymous says:

    Bring Uber and allow only Caymanians to drive provided vehicles/drivers are properly licensed/insured and Caymanians attend service/hospitality courses. It can be a source of income for many Caymanians and those looking for extra money can supplement their day jobs.

    – More money for Caymanians (and thereby hopefully a reduction in crime).
    – Less drunk drivers killing people on the roads.

    Win, win.




    68



    20
    • Anonymous says:

      So Uber drivers can’t fall asleep at the wheel or have bad attitudes?




      10



      17
      • Anonymous says:

        If they want a bad rating sure. Then guess what, with a bad rating they can no longer drive for Uber. Get it now? Good.




        16



        3
    • Anonymous says:

      Crime has to do with shit families and low life scumbags committing the crimes. Not lack of Uber.




      20



      2
      • Anonymous says:

        If money doesn’t buy you happiness, it can definitely buy you comfort so that you can focus on things that really matter like preventing your family from turning “shit”.

        Crime in many respects (not all I concede) is perpetrated by opportunistic criminals and those that are just trying to make ends meet. If Government can’t equip “shit families and low life scumbags” with the tools necessary to succeed (i.e. the “shit families and low life scumbags” can’t afford education or don’t realize the value of focusing on education), there needs to be a way for such individuals to make a living and simply put, survive. If these “shit families and low life scumbags” can’t put food on their table, take a wild guess where they might turn to as a last resort, CRIME!

        Uber, can fix this. An unskilled/uneducated person (who knows how to drive) can drive and earn anywhere between gross $75-200 dollars a day (10-20 trips). There are no restrictions really on working hours and so you work until your brain tells you it’s time to sleep. Uber is a real solution.




        1



        1
    • Anonymous says:

      jobs should not be based on nationality….




      10



      16
    • Anonymous says:

      Not only is this extremely sensible, with good outcomes for nearly everyone, but it also fits with Cayman’s policies, being a small/low-intervention government which favours Caymanians. Instead of Uber, we’ve got a Caymanian-owned company that is so close to opening.




      11



      1
    • Anonymous says:

      Unfortunately will never happen because the taxi operators want to keep their monopoly.. like every other service on the island.. Look what happened to that Uber-like company that a month or two ago tried to open.




      17



      0
    • Anonymous says:

      The taxi/public bus operation should be controlled. Not every person should be allowed into the business of driving for reward. i would never use the public transport, because the majority of those drivers have no manners or decency. I have taken pictures of them reversing into my road and urinating at the back of the bus. Do I need to say where they are from. Stop allowing those type of people to be on our island transporting people around.
      They are not dressed decent, nor are they courteous. Let them wear uniforms so they are properly identified. Only in these islands they run things.




      15



      0
  40. Anonymous says:

    We all know this, the whole system is a disaster for locals and tourists alike, yet government refuses to let Uber in or competing services, and does nothing about the price gauging by taxis. I know of one example where a taxi took 6 people from the Ritz to Catch restaurant and charged $300. When the company organising it complained, they got blacklisted by all taxis. There can only be one reason for this farce continuing unchecked, that good old boy network, the lodge and blatantly obvious corruption. ACC should investigate.




    84



    5
  41. Anonymous says:

    let buses run 24/7 if they want…..ppl need an affordable alternative to the rip-off taxis….




    47



    4
    • Anonymous says:

      Really……The bus driver’s don’t even want to do their routes now, so just imagine you going to the eastern district at 1am and getting attitude from the driver and may I add being told my girl waiting for me so I have let you off Bodden Town or North Side junction. Oh and it’s a Jamaica driver…..how figure. And when they know you and where you live, they refuses to let you on the bus or just don’t stop for you. That’s the great failing system that is in place.




      17



      1
  42. Anonymous says:

    and this is the same government who won’t bring in uber…..zzzzzzzzz
    just another day in wonderland.




    42



    7
  43. Anonymous says:

    bus service here is great in principal but let down by the usual incompetent civil service management




    45



    2
  44. Anonymous says:

    How many of these drivers that represent us so badly are actually from here?




    72



    5
  45. Anonymous says:

    We keep shooting ourselves in the foot with our tourism brand. Can we just get Uber now? What more evidence do you need that the current public transportation/taxi model is a complete and utter failure?




    49



    5
  46. Cess Pita says:

    Not many taxi complaints as passengers have no idea who to complain to. All taxis should be required to post driver I.D. and the contact # for the PTU




    81



    2

Please include your email address in the form below if you are using your real name. You can use a pseudonym, with or without leaving an email address, or just leave the form blank to be "Anonymous". All comments will be moderated before they are published. Please read the CNS Comment Policy at the top of this page.

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

See today’s question on
CNS Local Life