Drivers urged to ditch cars for full week

| 09/03/2021 | 96 Comments

(CNS): The infrastructure ministry has expanded on the 2019 Car Free Day to whole a week and is encouraging people to get out from behind the wheel from Monday, 22 March, until the following Friday. When Cayman went into the COVID-19 lockdown last year, it came close to being car-free. Driving was drastically reduced, giving our modern environment an unprecedented reprieve. But it was not long before the roads were as congested as ever.

Car Free Week is an effort to remind people they can live without their cars and still get around, encouraging civil and public servants to use car pooling, buses, bicycles or their feet instead of their own car for five days, or even working from home. Government officials are also hoping that this year the idea will go beyond the civil service.

Kristen Augustine, the energy policy coordinator in the Ministry of Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure, said the ministry is inviting everyone to join the effort by taking the pledge online.

Take the pledge here.

“Companies can also support employees by taking the pledge and supporting work from home, arranging a bus for them to park and ride and providing priority parking for carpoolers or other incentives,” she said. “While this is an opportunity to be socially responsible, we want to make it fun and exciting for everyone. So we ask interested members of the civil and public service as well as the private sector to complete the pledge form to show your commitment and be entered into a raffle for a chance to win prizes.”

People can also download the free Car Free Week logo to print on shirts and a flyer is also available to send to your employees, co-workers, friends and family from the webpage here.

CPI Minister Joey Hew said the National Energy Policy calls for a reduction in greenhouse gas emission and the transportation sector has vast potential for energy efficiency and energy conservation.

“Single use vehicles are significant contributors to CO2 emissions,” he said. “It also leads to the traffic congestion that we experience every day across Grand Cayman. As it relates to the latter, a holistic approach has to be taken to include carpooling, incentivisation of alternative transport, limits on importation of older vehicles and comprehensive public transportation system which government is pursuing. But each individual has to consider how they can support this process,” he said.

Car Free Week flyer (click to enlarge)

The ministry recently piloted a hop-on-hop-off George Town shuttle service to help reduce the number of cars going in and out of the central business district. It has also partnered with with Cycle Cayman to provide bicycles for use by civil servants as part of a free three-month trial BikeShare programme.

Last month the civil service organised the Cayman Islands Government Responsible Travel Scheme, which encouraged civil servants to take the shuttle, carpool or ride a bike and collect points each time to be eligible for incentives and prizes. Thirty-six people from over seventeen government departments and agencies participated in the scheme and were rewarded for their involvement.

During Car Free Week, people are asked to consider using the Free George Town shuttle service, which now has four lines around central George Town and runs Monday to Friday, 8:00am– 6:00pm. An app to track the location of the ‘George Town shuttle’ is available on the iPhone app or Google Play store.

People can also use the regular public transportation system to ride to work.

See the bus route map here.

Employers are encouraged to organise a park and ride service for employees through local tour operators (email for more information). Passengers are reminded that masks must be worn on buses per COVID-19 protocols.

Another option is to link with neighbours, friends or co-workers to carpool to work and to transport children to and from school, and employers are encouraged to arrange priority parking for carpoolers. Download the app “SLACK” to arrange carpooling virtually.

Another great option is to cycle or walk to work. Cycle Cayman has bicycles available around the island and employers can contract the company to provide free bikes for the week.

But the best way to avoid using cars is staying home. Those that can are encouraged to ask their boss if they can work from home, something that many people learned they could do during last year’s lockdown.

Members of the public interested in Car Free Week can contact for more information.

CNS reporter Wendy Ledger will also be using her bike that week and when necessary public transport. Lookout for a follow-up report on the 2019 experience.

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Comments (96)

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  1. Karen says:

    I think this is a great idea as long as it is only for expats and poor people. I need to pick my kids up at CIS in my Mercedes and take them to Camana Bay. I need a good stiff Chardonnay after a long day of telling my helper the ceiling fans need dusting.

  2. Annie says:

    What a bunch of garbage, no viable alternative, just walk from east end to west bay. Geez, don’t rich people have anything better to do with their time than foist their crap on people who actually have to work for a living?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Download the K-bus cayman passenger app and track the local buses.We will be adding more buses to the app soon.

  4. SSM345 says:

    Get all the tourism sector bus drivers and their vehicles that are currently collecting dust in on this and it might just work……?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Buses were introduced to Bermuda in 1945 by the Bermuda Omni Bus Service, a division of the Bermuda Railway Service. The Public Transportation Board was created in 1946 and operates all bus services. Buses, the backbone of the island’s public transportation system, are supplemented by a public ferry service.

    Bermuda buses are specifically designed for the peculiarities of the island, being narrow enough to navigate the Bermuda roads. They have no provisions for transport of luggage, bicycles, or golf bags.These buses have 32–34 seats, fewer than the older buses, but allow wheelchair access.

    Buses run typically between 7 am and 11 pm at variable (often 15-minute) intervals. Schedules assume an average speed of 35 kilometres per hour (22 mph). Bus stops, many of which are sheltered, are marked by pink (direction towards Hamilton) or blue (direction away from Hamilton) poles. Buses stop by them at request.

    Bermuda’s pink and blue buses are owned and operated by the Department of Public Transportation.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I’ll happily take passengers but they’ll need to suffer my eggy farts and CaymanRock on the radio.

  7. Anonymous says:

    These morons expecting people to walk on the roads?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Look at countries with too many people and not enough road space. They mostly commute on small motorcycles and often have two on each and some with huge loads and even babies and the whole families. Is that to be out future ?? Slow down this breakneck addition of hundreds and hundreds of homes for more foreigners that only crest jobs for house cleaners and gardeners—jobs that Caymanians will not do.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The problem with this is the same problem with recycling. You need an educated culture to make this work.

  10. Teedee says:

    HahahahaHahahahaHahahaha whose bs foolish idea this is? Who? Who in gods name is gonna ride to work from EE or NS? And how long will that take? Good thing we not worried about COVID anymore? Ummmm how many people can fit in the busses right now with the regulations? If this is the cockamamie ideas that Govt comes up with, I should be able to build a rocket ship to Mars with styrofoam and bay vine. Lmfao I can only imagine the graphic designer’s face as they were creating this piece of garbage knowing full well it is a waste of their time. Hilarious and a waste of Govt funds to develop this idea. Dumbest thing I ever heard. Maybe they should put a moratorium on car imports? Build a damn bridge? But a ferry boat? Or how about job creation with the creation of a proper public transport system? Cam-on man! This is so unrealistic and stupid I am flabbergasted it was released. May work in other countries that have proper transportation systems in place but here?? Stups! Johann just got my vote! 🙂

  11. Anonymous says:

    Are we the only country without a bus app?

  12. Anonymous says:

    How about ditch your mobile phones while driving for a day! For the 30% of road users that habitually use their phones while driving, I know that your phone call or message is extremely important and definitely more important than the life and family of another road user… (not) but please just try it.

  13. See ya says:

    If you want to encourage persons to give up their cars, provide a viable alternative. At present no such alternative exists. So …sorry, I am driving.

  14. Anonymous says:

    It’s called over crowding. I was wondering if you all were aware of this problem – thank God I realize you are. But damn this is not the solution. Stop letting these people into the Island. I don’t think you all have any idea how many undocumented people are here and how many don’t need to be here. And guess what they are all driving cars. Screen these people and get them out of here, and stop letting them in. Where are our RIGHTS!!!!! We are being literally trampled.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Island is over populated. Too many cars and too many migrants.

    • Anonymous says:

      The problem with Cayman is that it is full of disrespectful, lazy, and ethically challenged people. But there is no way of getting rid of them.

      • Anonymous says:

        You just described every politician in Cayman.

      • Anonymous says:

        The truth how most of you expats feel about cayman and it’s people but that’s okay you will never get your way down here and that’s why you’re big mad lol

  15. Anonymous says:

    Don’t tell people to ditch cars… many take it at your word and will drive off the road!

  16. LOL says:

    We really need the LOL emoji for ideas like this!

  17. Anonymous says:

    To reduce killer smog in Mexico City, and improve air quality, their 35mln people have been doing this since 1989 through an initiative called Hoy No Circula (literally in Spanish: “today your car does not circulate”). Your no car day is determined by last digit of license plate. There are no cars allowed on Saturdays except for taxis and special permission vehicles. They have poured millions into bike lanes and public transport. Cars are generally not allowed to be older than 8 years. Japan has similar vehicle age limits, with is why we get so many “perfectly good” cheap imports from there. Not saying it’s what we should do, but it’s one way of reducing emissions.

  18. Tom says:

    Car-free week should happen once a month not once a year!

  19. Anonymous says:

    I’ll do this as soon as the public buses get on a tacking app like the GT shuttle so I know where they are and when they are and can use them. (Or publish a proper route/stops schedule.)The current system is unprofessional and inadequate and unreliable. (I don’t know when I’ll get picked up or when I’ll arrive. Unreliable.)

    A couple of the bus guys actually made an app that works. But CIG Public Transport too incompetent to get them all to use it. You want to promote public transport in Cayman? Demote whoever is in charge of it now. Because it is a failure.

  20. Shuttle Fish says:

    Great idea, maybe the shuttle drivers will not be so lonely driving around all day on their own.

  21. Anonymous says:

    You first…

  22. Anonymous says:

    buses for private schools please!! Every bit helps! Can we try and organize school transport via taxi bus drivers that are out of work?

    • Anonymous says:

      No way! Private taxi drivers are Kamikaze in their dilapidated vehicles.

    • Anonymous says:

      Make the public schools do it first. More than half still get dropped off because the parents can’t wait until 7:15 to leave their houses just to supervise their children. Until the roads are widened by the horsey ranch as well as that roundabout or a bridge from savannah to camana is built then very few kids will be taking busses.

    • Anonymous says:

      When schools are out there is literally 50% of the traffic.

      All the downvotes are from private school kids’ parents who can’t imagine not having their spoilt kid dropped to school in a ferrari.

      A bus? With peasants? Bah!

      • Anonymous says:

        You pos. Not everyone has the option to go to public school here. Some of us work very hard to get our kids the best education possible and that doesn’t mean we are rich.

        • Anonymous says:

          > Not everyone has the option to go to public school here.

          You mean people who moved here yesterday? You’d think this was factored into their decision to move here, so no right to complain.

        • Anonymous says:

          Statistically speaking if you can afford private school you’re technically richer than most native Caymanians and also very likely to be an expat since you said your kids can’t attend private school.

          Expats of your type commonly generalize Caymanians in negative ways also, so stop being a hypocrite.

          Also, name calling doesn’t get your point across, so I’m going to assume calling me a POS meant Person of Substance.


      • Anonymous says:

        School from home one day per week. Grades 1-2 on Monday; 3-4 Tuesday; 5-6 Wednesday; 7-8 Thursday; 9 and up on Friday.

        • Anonymous says:

          Lol. And who is supposed to supervise this home schooling if parents need to be at work those days? My kindergartener can’t exactly stay home by herself.

        • Anonymous says:

          Ha ha ha. Firstly I do not think any parent wants homeschooling. Even if it reduces traffic. Secondly, who is staying home with the kids ? Employers will not allow staff to stay home. Especially if they have multiple kids in different years.

        • Anonymous says:

          So, that would mean I would have to stay home on a Tuesday and a Thursday each week. Not viable for those of us who have to work.

    • Anonymous says:

      Imagine a public transport system where kids can literally get to school by themselves once they’re past a certain age. Like the real world.

  23. Anonymous says:

    “But the best way to avoid using cars is staying home. Those that can are encouraged to ask their boss if they can work from home, something that many people learned they could do during last year’s lockdown”

    This is the biggest problem. While staff can work from home, those in charge desire staff face traffic to come into the office.

    • Anonymous says:

      My boss bought us all laptops to work from home, then started getting cranky when he realized most people /actually/ wanted to work from home. Hilarious.

      Same results, just no one to boss around in person.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes because it suited them at the time!

      • Anonymous says:

        Oh yes, I have one of those managers over here. Loves to see her minions, can’t live without that feeling of power over those in her immediate vicinity.

  24. Wilma says:

    Carpooling, leading by example, working from home are all great suggestions, however, a proper public transportation system is in order, a dedicated bike lane is long overdue. Wider roads and safer methods of walking and biking are a necessity.
    I can honestly tell you, my kid will not be carpooling with strangers, no way, no how. Are you out of your mind? Download an app to alleviate traffic and let your kid drive with a stranger, cmon seriously!!
    Companies arrange a bus? Tell me what this looks like. Provide viable solutions instead of pie in the sky ideals.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Is this like the purple ribbon pledge, where you get the magnet just to make the police think twice before pulling you over?

  26. Anonymous says:

    Where are the bike lanes we were promised? More people would cycleif they felt safer to do so. I ride almost every day to work and back and not a day passes with some idiot make me cuss bad words.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Parlaying COVID into climate change, bloody clever.
    Not surprised, more loss of liberties coming.

    • Anonymous says:

      As the island and the world becomes more crowded, would one expect they would gain or lose liberties?

  28. Anonymous says:

    no fan of joey but a decnet idea….
    carpooling is the future for cayman and the solution to traffic issues.
    free money making solution: $5 daily fee for single occupant cars coming through hurleys roundabout.

    • Anonymous says:

      Imagine how good the idea might have been if Joey’d actually built the budgeted bike lanes he was tasked with over last 8 years. Vote wiser Cayman.

  29. Anonymous says:

    I have work to do. I have bad knees and will drive my car to go to my job. Please keep this political correctness away from me.

    • Anonymous says:

      Can’t share a car because of bad your knees, or because nobody would want to share those minutes with you in the same vehicle? There’s a difference.

    • Anonymous says:

      Like Joey is carpooling or taking a public bus. Do as I say not as I do. These recommendations are not for him, I want Joey to turn in his keys, and wait an hour in the rain for an unscheduled over crowed fully packed ‘bus’ to come. Then not be able to get on said ‘bus’ because it is full.. It just like John Kerry in the states. All full of it.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Cool. I’m going to ride a dirt bike like a slack jawed twat. Might as well, they seem to slip through traffic easily.

    • Anonymous says:

      Someone’s jealous! LOL

      – a slack jawed twat who skips you every day on a bike while you pollute the environment 10x more and waste time in traffic for 2 hours

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m talking dirt bikes in particular, you know, the unlicensed ones with some goon with bumfluff for facial hair and a German army style helmet.

        I’ve got two motorbikes already, but thanks.

  31. Anonymous says:

    🤣🤣🤣 yeah right

  32. Del Trotter says:

    What are the chances of ‘John John’ riding to George Town on his pet donkey?

  33. Anonymous says:

    And the REAL viable option is…?? The GT free Shuttle is fine for the downtown area. I only need to come into the GT area from WB a couple times a week. What’s my option?

    Please get real CIG! Most residents would use a good all-island public transport system ….IF there was one! Offer real alternatives before asking people to sacrifice!

  34. Anonymous says:

    Lol. Sure, let me walk my kids down the bypass to get to school. Much safe. I’m sure those commuting from
    Bodden town and beyond to town for work also think this is realistic.

    The reason we were virtually car free during lockdown is because we were under a strict curfew and legally unable to leave our homes except under certain (very limited) circumstances. Duh.

  35. Anonymous says:

    I started early…I’ve been waiting here in Newlands for 4 days and still no public transport….I hope my job is still there on the 29th!

  36. I think work from home programs have proven more effective and its better for the environment and families! This campaign is just pure feel good public relations and more would be achieved by having a work from home week!!

  37. John-117 says:

    We have built up an infrastructure that mainly supports and heavily encourages the use individual motor vehicles. If you are going to try and encourage people not to use their vehicles, then there needs to be a major overhaul to our public transportation systems.

    We need a proper metro system that is ran by the Government themselves that also provides drivers and transportation workers with a fixed wage and healthcare benefits. We need to move away from the cramped purely for profit omni bus system that we have in place now, busses need to provide a comfortable and spacious ride for its passengers and there needs to be properly defined and strictly enforced bus schedules as people need to be able to rely on the public transportation system for it to be beneficial.

    Systems should also be in place that would heavily incentivize short-term workers to use public transportation. I am going out on a limb here, but I would guess that most short-term workers would prefer not to invest in a motor vehicle and all the fees that comes with that process. I would guess that if you offered short-term workers heavily discounted travel passes along with a comfortable and reliable transportation system that they would be more than willing to take advantage of it.

    In the end, if it is more convenient for someone to use the vehicle that is in their driveway than it is to use public transportation then that option will always win.

    I would also add, if our Government is so intent on increasing our population to 100k then they need to have the infrastructure in place to support that.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t think anything run by the government will provide a viable solution. Name one thing they have done right….

    • Anonymous says:

      And the parking areas to get to the bus stops. Assume they will be on main roads and far from homes to start.

      100K population is pretty insane considering the infrastructure is daily proving itself unable to support 65K in no uncertain terms. MASSIVE changes would need to happen before we could comfortably get to even 80K, including fully moving entire business centres away from GT/CB and into the centre of the island. Not sure what incentive anyone has to start that process yet.

      • Anonymous says:

        100k will be achieved faster than the necessary infrastructire can even get started. Watch.

  38. Anonymous says:

    When you provide a reliable and state of the art transport system, then I’ll give up driving. Until then, how else would I get to work?

  39. Anonymous says:

    Minister Hew: where are the flippin’ bike lanes we paid for from 2015-2020 as part of the budgeted NRA Plan?!?!

    • Anonymous says:

      Where they do exist, they are really just motorbike lanes anyway

      • Anonymous says:

        Because literally a hand full of people find it feasible to ride a bicycle from Newlands to town and back every day. If the motorbikes aren’t taking up car space I really couldn’t care if they’re watching out for potential cyclists/pedestrians ahead.

  40. Anonymous says:

    I’ll do it when Joey does.

  41. Anonymous says:

    The government needs to get behind this including its’ statutory authorities and set a good example. Bet you won’t see any heads riding or walking!

  42. Anonymous says:

    I already ditched my car for several months during the shelter in place curfews and restriction, I think it’s safe to say I’ve already did my part.

  43. Anonymous says:

    Imagine saying to go car free then encourage carpooling.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Put your money where your mouth is Mr. Minister. Lead by example and just maybe the rest will follow.

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