End of the road for free George Town shuttle bus

| 27/05/2021 | 48 Comments
Cayman News Service

(CNS): Government is putting the brakes on the free hop-on-hop-off shuttle bus service that has been running around George Town for the last six months. Officials said the pilot programme has now come to an end and the data gathered will be used to inform wider transportation plans in and around the capital. However, it is not entirely clear what data was actually gathered, as officials told CNS that the National Roads Authority (NRA) was not able to do a traffic count during the period of the pilot.

The project was slow to gain traction and just 60 passengers used the free service in the first week. But after news about it spread, an app to track the bus was created and a second route added, the free service eventually attracted more than a 1,000 riders a week.

The project was organised by the ministry responsible for infrastructure. Kristen Augustine, the government’s energy policy coordinator, explained that the initiative was designed to allow the relevant ministries to gather information to help shape a more long-term solution to George Town traffic congestion and parking problems.

“We piloted the free shuttle service to assess the public’s willingness to use alternative transportation to aid in the reduction of traffic and address the parking issues in the town,” she said “The service gained some traction over time and we received very positive feedback from members of the public. In addition, we now have some understanding of the community needs, and we will be able to feed the information into a longer term transportation plan.”

The main goal was to see if the shuttle service would reduce traffic in and around central George Town. However, Augustine said the “NRA was not able to set up a traffic count for us”, which means they are “unable to assess” whether or not the bus service reduced the number of cars in the capital.

During the pilot period a feedback form was made available on the bus and via the Cayman Islands National Energy Policy website for bus stop recommendations and suggestions for the service. That led to extending the pilot by another three months and an additional route that included the supermarkets.

The project was organised under the last government but the PACT ministers all welcomed the pilot as a way to inform future deliberations around transportation, even though it did not address the fundamental question.

Premier Wayne Panton said that “pilot projects like the George Town shuttle are useful tools that allow us to test solutions before making significant investments and implementing at a broader scale. They also provide us with useful data to inform future discussions and policy,”

However, the project appears to have produced no data other than passenger numbers.

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Category: Business, Transport

Comments (48)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    $1,400,000,000 income and the government can’t afford a free bus service?

    Maybe take back the $30,000 they just paid the failed politicians?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Data…it’s like the drains on the new roads…on top of the hill.

  3. Anonymous says:

    As an expat of ten years in cayman the locals and their government never cease to amaze me. Dairying lockdown I got a new up passport delivered here quicker than a police clearance or a new cayman driving license, as the government employees don’t do phone answering or email responding, but…

    On this article the issue is ‘bus’’. You need shuttle ‘busses’.. lots of them… going round and round, so people don’t wait long, and it’s reliable, and can expect it to turn up on time and replace a car, foreign to cayman government sadly is manners, punctuality, being on time, efficiency, and thinking proactively.

    • Anonymous says:

      Based on the poor grammar, lack of correct usage of capital letters and absolute gibberish I’m amazed you’ve been given PR.

    • Anonymous says:

      Expat @ 11:12 am – I fully agree with you. I’ve found by cc’ing a senior officer on emails catches the employees’ attention. When it involves Department Heads (many of whom are notoriously known for being “too important” to respond promptly) I’ve cc’d the DG. Works every time – but sad that it has to be done that way.

      As a Caymanian-born Civil Service retiree, I wish you’d lived here and experienced the days when the CS was smaller, staff were more efficient, better educated and certainly more mannerly! Yes, time was….

      In many ways Cayman has regressed since the “boom” days started in the 1970s.

    • Anonymous says:

      To 11.12 What you have just shown is that you are not the sharpest tool in the box. You had that perfect Govt and you gave it up for this imperfect place.

  4. Anonymous says:

    This was one of Joey’s last and ill-conceived projects to make him look like he was doing something to get elected.

    Putting something like this together with no data and no idea where the buses should even go was pure stupidity and everyone knew it would end this way.

    Only good thing it did was give to bus drivers and opportunity to work for a few months, oh yeah and helped Joey get elected.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Useless without a tracking app. People don’t want to wait in the sun.

    But nice to have the government spend all the money on a pilot project…..which apparently is not transparent about the data collected. lol

  6. Anonymous says:

    Never saw anyone on any of those buses except for the driver. Were the passengers midgets? Or invisible?

    • Anonymous says:

      I have actually seen people using the bus to get to Kirks and the hospital, in the last month. If they haf given it more time maybe ridership would have picked up. Now we will never know!

    • Anonymous says:

      OMG I was thinking the same thing. Never saw one person on one.

  7. Anonymous says:

    We will NEVER have a modern and efficient transport system on this island because cars are a status symbol here. Look at the number of big Fords, Chevvys, Dodges…etc that we have here. No need for anything that size on a pebble like Cayman. It’s a big d!ck contest and the losers are commuters and the environment.

    • Anonymous says:

      Jeeps are cool, too. Not sure why you left those out. Jealous probably.

    • Anonymous says:

      Just gotta laugh when you see a lil 125cc motorcycle skirting on down the middle of the grid locked traffic containing $50,000 – $100,000 cars just sitting in first gear unable to break 5 mph.

  8. Anonymous says:

    For sale numerous buses lightly used. New never used interior.
    Contact ex premier McLoughlin

  9. Dan says:

    Great concept, good branding…. but the people who would have love this are tourists… and shutting down the project before tourists can return… Well… Maybe they can sell the bus for casino spending money for certain government officials to head down to Miami.

  10. Say it like it is. says:

    Almost all the shuttles I saw had just one lonely occupant – the driver. As for reduction in traffic what riders there were did not own cars.In reality the main goal was to subsidise out of work taxi drivers by paying them to run the shuttles.

  11. SSM345 says:

    Another Govt initiative that was worth and did what exactly?

    “the project appears to have produced no data other than passenger numbers”.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Do we know how the government/civil service free bicycle share program is working out? The success of this is probably the downfall of the free bus service?

  13. Anonymous says:

    What a waste of money!!! All this investment for a 6 month “experiment”! Who approves these things!?!

  14. Anonymous says:

    When will the “world-class” Civil Service do something correct the first time – except to waste public funds? When for God’s sake??

    Morons in charge!!

    Franz, for real, what are you paid for??

    • Anonymous says:

      The fish rots at its head.

      World class civil service is a simple sham to cover up deep seated incompetence, envy and waste.

  15. Anon says:

    I saw it once…

  16. Anonymous says:

    It is a shame that this is being discontinued. It was starting to get built into people’s routines as an option for getting around Town. And it showed the utility of better managed commuter transport. It would be good if PACT continued this project. And ramped up the rest of the bus service to match it. Scheduled and mapped busses with published rates would get people to ride them reducing traffic and pollution. And as (paying) ridership goes up Govt. costs go down, allowing the Govt. to subsidies more routes to continue the virtuous cycle. Come on PACT, this one is an easy winner: employment and better quality of life for commuters.

  17. Anonymous says:


  18. Anonymous says:

    Q. Did it reduce traffic in the capital?
    A. No.

    Q. Was it in reality designed to make the incumbent government look good to elements of the local community?
    A. Yes.

  19. Anonymous says:

    a god idea….but as usal from cig/civil service…poorly executed.

    • Anonymous says:

      Need to correct that typo on this island,,, some people think vaccines are evil and buses really do come from the Lord

  20. Anonymous says:

    when they put gt revitalisation on the side of the bus….you knew this would fail.
    another glorious day for our civil service.
    actually surprised cig has got the intelligence to bin it….

  21. Anonymous says:

    i will miss the bus with no timetable or schedule….just like i missed it everyday.
    i twas always fun to stand in the sun for 45 mins hoping to see the empty bus drive down another road…..
    yep…just another day in wonderland.

    • Anonymous says:

      Those buses ran on time. There was hardly 10 minutes between buses. Don’t know where you waited for them😟

      • Anonymous says:

        10.43 he probably waited in his South Sound apt for someone to come knock and invite him to come on board .

  22. Anonymous says:

    So, they spent $$$$ on the buses, $$$ on the signage, $$$ on the app and now it’s finished..
    I hope it gains traction for being permanent. You can’t get everyone onboard quickly unfortunately coz people here LOVE their cars… And it’s a Cayman thing that you look bad if you ‘have’ to take a bus.
    “Where yah cah?”

    Similar to the fact that high schoolers would never work in fast food for extra money like I did. Looks bad.. “Who yah fer?”

    • Anonymous says:

      No. This public transport system is a good idea but from Bodden Town with stops along the way in designated areas all the way to West Bay.

    • Anonymous says:

      I once heard it said that perception is the hardest to change. Followed a close second by behaviour.

    • Anonymous says:

      LOL. Idiot.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think that Cayman locals/residents should have the right to own cars. I think we should have more restrictions on work permit holders and non Caymanians able to own and drive cars in the Cayman islands (HIGHER COST TO LICENSE etc). The Vehicle inspections should not allow half cars that i see running around on these roads to be passed! Police officers should stop ANY car that looks beat up and frankly “un-street-worthy” and take them off the road! Thats a start!

      • Jules says:

        The mechanics that the DLVD approved for issuing cars a safety pass most accept $100 for a pass without even seeing the vehicle. The number of unsafe cars on our roads is shocking. No brake or signal lights, broken windows taped over. But with no efficient public transport system, people have to get to work somehow. Can’t blame them for paying to have their car approved. It will only change if police start pulling over these derelict cars and see where they had their cars passed for inspection.

  23. What a waste... says:

    data will be studied from a test period during the pandemic with no tourists and large % of people working from home.

    Maybe try again in 2022 when things are “normalish”

  24. Anonymous says:

    How daft!

  25. Anonymous says:

    The last sentence says it all. 🤦‍♀️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤷‍♀️

    • Anonymous says:

      Ain’t that the truth. Another case of “a whole lot of nothing in return for a whole lot of money spent”.

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