CIG’s transport policy making slow progress

| 28/02/2024 | 75 Comments
Public buses at George Town depot on Grand Cayman, Cayman News Service

(CNS): Answering a parliamentary question from Joey Hew (GTN), Infrastructure Minister Jay Ebanks said there was “no right answer” to how Cayman will roll out a successful public transportation policy. As it became apparent that the ministry was a long way from finding any answers, he told MPs that a number of experts from the UK’s Department of Transport had been seconded to the Cayman Islands to help his ministry staff come up with a solution that will work here.

Ebanks said that the Deloitte report, conducted when transport was still under the tourism ministry, has not been shelved, and information from that $200,000 report, which was released last year, has been passed on to the UK experts.

“There is really no right answer, right off the top of the head, to jump in right away when it comes to a transportation system,” Ebanks said. “We can just put anything in place, and it may work, it may not. We have the expertise, and this is what they do for a living. We have tasked them with coming up with the most creative way and the best solution that is driven for the Cayman Islands,” he said as he thanked the UK team for their help.

The ministry is also still working on a business case to create a Department of Transport by merging the National Roads Authority, the Department of Vehicle and Drivers’ Licensing and the Public Transport Unit. Ebanks said this was the first time that the area of public transport has been prioritised by a government.

“Previous administrations… have shown little to no support for public transport,” he said. “The lack of attention is exactly why we are grappling with now.”

Acknowledging public concerns, he asked for understanding as the ministry reconstructs the requirements of public transport as he assured the House that the ministry was actively seeking solutions in the advancement and evolution of a transport system.

Although traffic congestion is one of Grand Cayman’s most pressing problems, the minister offered no timelines or interim solutions. In references to Hew’s question about what was being done in this budget cycle to address the problem, he spoke about the current road safety campaign.

However, he did not offer any temporary policy ideas that might have an immediate impact, such as introducing school buses for private schools or introducing flexi-time for the thousands of people who work for the government.

See the Deloitte report in the CNS Library.


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Category: Policy, Politics

Comments (75)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The solution is there but it is a difficult one to present to the public…All the taxi’s, bus service, off-hour commutes will not solve the issue…The individual freedom that a vehicle provides a citizen is a high hurdle to overcome…Look to Bermuda for the realistic solution…A bitter pill to swollow but one vehicle per family…There can be legislation written to provide for exceptions but there are just too many vehicles on the roads of Grand Cayman…Dr. Finley

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  2. Anonymous says:

    I totally agree, CNS!
    Of course there are temporary policy ideas that might have an immediate impact on reducing traffic congestion, such as introducing school buses for private schools or implementing flex-time for the thousands of people who work for the government and introducing incentives for the private sector to so.

    Work-from-home arrangements have proven to be viable and productive in many sectors, particularly those where tasks can be accomplished remotely using digital tools and communication platforms. Industries such as technology, finance, consulting, and various service-based businesses have successfully transitioned to remote work setups. The effectiveness of work-from-home arrangements in alleviating traffic congestion and boosting productivity in many sectors is well documented, so no overpaid consultants are needed.

    Flex-time and work-from-home policies have helped alleviate traffic in historically congested areas. With fewer commuters traveling to and from work during peak hours, there’s been a noticeable reduction in traffic congestion. This shift has also led to reevaluations of planning strategies and transportation infrastructure. Why the hell is government not immediately implementing these as interim policies?

    The measures CNS suggested, and work-from-home, have proven to be immediately effective in reducing traffic congestion in areas across the globe. No further study is needed, Ebanks! Do your damn job!

    If government was serous about the mission, they would immediately implement proven effective interim measures to deal with the problem (Yeah…while they continue to kick the can down the road).

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    • Anonymous says:

      Work-from-home arrangements? NO Absolutely Not. Social isolation is NOT a good thing. Enough mentally ill already.

      If government was serous about the mission… Bermuda was serious and their transportation system is excellent.

      Caymanians are not smart enough to implement and smoothly run a public transportation system. They’d have to hire expats for that.

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      • Anonymous says:

        @12:44:
        In every positive some people can find fault. Let’s address your hyperbole:

        Some research suggests that remote work can lead to feelings of social isolation, usually if individuals lack opportunities for in-person social interaction outside of work. While some individuals may experience negative effects such as social isolation and increased stress, others find remote work to be beneficial for their mental health, providing greater flexibility and autonomy, and a decrease in stress. They find that eliminating time-consuming commutes to and from work, and eliminating the time spent dressing more formally for the office, affords them far more time to pursue social interests, personal enjoyment, and family time, in addition to eliminating the stress associated with being stuck in traffic for prolonged periods. To suggest that work-at-home will, invariably and in any case, lead to mental illness is as silly as it is baseless.

        In my profession, for many many years and by my choice, the majority of my day, outside of the time I spend with clients, involves working from home. During high traffic hours in Cayman I dread facing the time-consuming tediousness and stress of driving in Cayman traffic. Moreover, I much prefer the tranquility of my home environment to the typical office environment. The time I save that would have been spent dressing for the office and commuting affords me more free time to pursue social and family interaction and leisure pursuits. I would not choose a daily office schedule for double my income.

        Proper implementation of work-at-home policies will take into account and provide for the general well being of the individual. Government can assist the private sector by forming an advisory/assistance body that can provide both employees and employers with the advice and help they need to make the work at home option a productive and elevating experience and expand the program.

        Make work at home an immediate trial option. If it works out well, they can choose to continue it for as long as the employer and employee feel it is working out for them. According to studies, preferences for remote work can vary widely among individuals and may change over time. Some employees may prefer the social interaction and collaborative environment of the office, while others may value the flexibility and autonomy of remote work.

        Even if works out for only 1/3 or 1/4 of the people now commuting to office daily, that is still a positive move in decreasing the volume of traffic.

        In regard to a comparative business model: Bermuda has a population around that of Grand Cayman on a land area less than 1/3 that of Grand Cayman. Thus, the logistics and scaling involved in public mass transit are vastly different between Bermuda and Grand Cayman. However, I shall agree that Bermuda does have a very decent bus system in place.

        Your very silly Caymanian bashing aside, the government would do well to recruit the best talent available to run the transit system as efficiently as possible, recruiting from whatever source, here or abroad.

        And another thing…!
        If government were serious, they would go ahead and form the Cayman Islands Mass Transit Authority (CIMTA), the initial remit of CIMTA would be to begin identifying and planning the mass transit solution. That is a logical first step. Hear that, Ebanks and government? Do you damn jobs!

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        • Anonymous says:

          I am twice as productive remotely. Less time in traffic means more time for work, saving money on meals, petrol, car maintenance, and many less distractions from non-work related nonsense from coworkers.

      • Anonymous says:

        Sayeth the manager-landlord-petrol station-realtor

  3. Anonymous says:

    “Answering a parliamentary question from Joey Hew (GTN), Infrastructure Minister Jay Ebanks said there was “no right answer” to how Cayman will roll out a successful public transportation policy.”

    Translated into TruthSpeak:
    Answering a parliamentary question from Joey Hew (GTN), Infrastructure Minister Jay Ebanks said “we don’t have a damn clue” as to how Cayman will roll out a successful public transportation policy, adding “We are now going do what past governments have done when they need to put off dealing with a critical issue, we are going to hire overpaid outside consultants to write up a report that will then be pushed into the corner and collect dust while the situation gets worse”.

    Minister Ebanks has learned the script very well!

    …And another thing!

    If “there is no right answer” Ebanks is conceding that anything they come up with will certainly be the wrong answer. At least he was (unintentionally) being honest.

  4. Anonymous says:

    But, but…
    what about this : Bryan plans to ‘transform’ public transport
    Cayman News | 11/05/2021 | 135 Comments

    “ Kenneth Bryan, the new minister of tourism and transport, has committed [‼️]to making the necessary legislative changes to transform public transport in the Cayman Islands. ”

    AND this

    Cayman looks to partner with Barbados on creation of local public bus system
    Compass, June 20, 2021
    “ Tourism and Transport Minister Kenneth Bryan is teaming up [‼️] with his Barbados counterpart for the creation of a national public bus system in a bid to alleviate Cayman’s traffic congestion woes.”

    “ Though in the preliminary discussion stage, Bryan has set his sights on a January 2024 start date and is working [‼️] with Santia Bradshaw, Barbados’ Minister for Transport, Works and Water Resources to look at making a bus network happen.”

    Does this mean that everything he had said and allegedly started doing were lies?

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  5. Anonymous says:

    A flippin 7yo would have taken that $200,000 and the next half a million$$ from the UK blokes, and purchased 10 proper bus with set routes, by now.
    We Caymanians elect people with zero common sense. but it’s not their money they’re squandering.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Examining the report was enlightening, but I didn’t come across substantial evidence of considering alternative options beyond electric buses. It seems the review process was biased, and largely influenced by an agenda. Most of the data seemed to originate from the government portfolio, which covertly drives decisions to align with the UN2030 agenda of phasing out fossil fuel vehicles.

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  7. Christopher Johnson says:

    Bryan has no clue. Start by implementing bus stops. That way buses do not have to stop in the middle of the road, which they invariably do.

    By the way please do tell us what you are doing with the Smatts land you purchased 28 months ago. If you cannot think of anything let the public use it. After all we are short of beach access.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I would think start by getting the tourists off the road. Have shuttles that run up and down 7 mb as that is where most of the tourists roam. They can be on a constant loop with little pull offs not to disrupt regular traffic flow and covered bus stations to wait at. Run a few shuttles from West Bay for tourists stopping at Cemetary Beach, public Beach, grocery store, and stops along the way along 7nmile beach ( where tourists would go). How about a water ferry?
      This would get tourists off the roads, save them renting cars and save on traffic congestion.

  8. Anonymous says:

    At the rate we are going we should just go back to using catboats for public transport. It certainly would be quicker at certain times of day.

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    • Traffic Jammed says:

      For sure. We all go to and from work or take the kids to and from school at the same times every single day. We are like slow moving sheep, corralled from the east and west into the chokepoints.

      Add one accident and the fragile traffic system collapses.

      Many of us do most, if not all of our work on a computer. We also have computers at home. If half of us were remote workers half of the week, the traffic nightmares would improve immediately.

      Let the kids take the bus to school on remote work days, or walk if they are close to school.

  9. Anonymous says:

    A free for all of crappy 3rd world vans is not considered a transport policy anywhere other than sub Saharan Africa. Vote these muppets out.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    The ministry is also still working on a business case to create a Department of Transport by merging the National Roads Authority, the Department of Vehicle and Drivers’ Licensing and the Public Transport Unit.

    Take three dysfunctional groups and merge them into one large group is always a good plan.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    caymanians elect these people so you have no-one else to blame but yourselves.
    and to make things worse, you also prevent the most qualified and successful people on island from being elected…
    welcome to wonderland.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    arguably the biggest issue impacting peoples quality of life…and cig are basically saying we don’t know what to do?????
    and people argue against direct rule??????
    nothing makes sense in cayman.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    There we all were thinking Kenny had solved this issue long time.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Working with that Ministry is a nightmare. They do little then blame others for their inaction.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    So they are engaging consultants from the UK to review the report that the previous Deloitte consultants produced. Another waste of money and effort while kicking the can down the road.

    And Joey seems to blame others for a lack of priority. He should look in the mirror sometimes. What has he ever achieved ?

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  16. Anonymous says:

    Wait more experts like the GMO mosquitos experts? I laugh so hard I think I p#$$&d myself!!!
    Instead building more roads and destroying the envorinment, you could have made one lane for scooters, bicycles, i.e. 2 wheel vehicles and make the vehicle duty free. Free advise Jay!

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  17. Elvis says:

    Is anyone surprised its making slow progress?All raise their hands

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  18. Island Time says:

    The Taxi system here is the biggest rip off. Had a friend arrive on the island January 19/24. Unfortunately, I was arriving on a later flight. He was down on business and was staying at a hotel on 7-mile beach. The person at the Taxi stand told him to get in with another person he didn’t know. They informed him they were going to a hotel that’s close to each other. The fee would be $25.00 USD each. When did they change the rate to $50.00 USD to go from the airport to 7-mile beach. Yes, there was lots of cabs.

    Cayman Kind my butt.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I hardly think taxi drivers are getting rich. They are only bringing in a couple hundred on a very good weekday before expenses.

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      • Anonymous says:

        that’s more than the 48$ domestic helpers make.
        guess who is the most exhausted at the end of the day ?

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        • Anonymous says:

          Indentured servitude for the bougeouise.

          These low paid and overworked people can often be found at Camana Bay entertaining/babysitting kids with English accents.

      • Island Time says:

        So what you’re saying is let’s Rip off the tourist’s. It’s not bad enough Cayman is getting a Black eye in the National news with Gun Violence, lets ad on people ripping you off.

        “Cayam Kind”

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  19. Anonymous says:

    Planning Dept, CUC, and National Roads Authority (NRA) cannot even coordinate so that new sidewalks are installed WITHOUT a CUC electricity pole being in the way of wheelchair users!

    NRA, why do you ins some areas install the signals for pedestrian crossings in the middle of sidewalks so that wheelchair users have to navigate into the roadway? Do we even have any specifications for the construction of sidewalks to avoid these issues?

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  20. Anonymous says:

    single occupancy in cars is the problem….and very easy to solve….
    ditto for school drop-offs. no 1 child drop-off should be allowed on school grounds.

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    • Anonymous says:

      @3:58:
      Wowww! Gee!
      No one-child dropoffs allowed on de school grouns?
      Geezum!
      Mahn…
      Now dats a ting!
      What I gahn do?
      Hmmm…?
      Mek I tink…

      Drop off meh one child outside de entrance to de school grouns?
      Oh…yeh…dats it!
      Problem solve!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Local politicians are determined to make money by building roads to allow them to develop and sell land they own. Call it what it is: corruption and incompetence.

    Quite aside from the transparent dishonesty, it’s nonsensical: more roads won’t reduce traffic. Nor will buses: they use roads, too… Look at Hong Kong, Singapore or Dubai: what’s required is a light rail system (e.g. DLR), tram system or monorail. Yes, it will be expensive.

    There’s no alternative unless you want a permanently-jammed hellscape for everyone living east of Hurley’s (What’s that, MPs? You don’t care: you just want $$$$. Of course.)

    EVEN BANGLADESH HAS A LIGHT RAIL SYSTEM. CAYMAN IS FALLING BEHIND THE THIRD WORLD… https://bdnews24.com/metro-rail/xinc4i0jh1

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    • Anonymous says:

      Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about that:

      “A survey of North American light rail projects shows that costs of most LRT systems range from $15 million to over $100 million per mile”.

      And that’s just the construction cost PER MILE (in the US)…..

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      • Anonymous says:

        Good job we are on a completely flat Island and only 20 so miles long then isn’t it. Should be on the cheaper end.

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  22. Anonymous says:

    I say build an entertainment facility for that Caymanian Experience. Build a park in GT. Relocate the Craft Market as the old location rots. Renovate GT to create more traffic issues.

    Leave Education, Public Transport, Mt Trashmore, the driving issue, Crime rate and Kenny B’s illegal billboards alone.

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  23. Anonymous says:

    Hahahhahahaha…Jay Ebanks solving a major problem…..hhahahahahahahahahahha

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  24. Anonymous says:

    A side note…

    It should be mandated that all taxis and buses have onboard cameras that both record the driver and the surroundings. The number of, ahem, ‘professional’ drivers I see on their phones, or with no seatbelt on/sat on top of the belt is ridiculous.

    This should also be the case for emergency response vehicles. The cameras could be used to prosecute the morons who don’t yield to first-responders, too.

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  25. Anonymous says:

    there is no-one in cig or civil service with expertise or qualifications to tackle the traffic crisis
    civil service is filled with poorly educated people with zero ability to tackle these issues.
    if we can’t be honest and face these facts we will never be closer to a solution.

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  26. Anonymous says:

    Delay, Delay because decisions are difficult to make.

    More reports and more data to analyse do not equate to basis to make a better decision. Most of the data and reports are just conjecture that is unrealistic in the first place.

    Just do it, build the road and mandate buses, increase vehicle licence fees and people will love the public transportation.

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  27. Anonymous says:

    Where are the integrated bike lanes from the 2015 NRA Strategic Plan? 9 years of budgets paid for infrastructure deliverables that the public and stakeholders have not received. Why is there no sidewalk on the east side of West Bay road for pedestrians in the Hotel Tourism Zone…where the street lighting is located?

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  28. Anonymous says:

    Waffle, deflection, excuses, blame, delay – is what these highly paid government officials do best.

    Results and action are not part of their vocabulary or ability set.

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    • anon says:

      NO ACCOUNTABILITY!

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      • Anonymous says:

        they are accountable. we as a whole just keep them there at election time.

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        • UnCivil Servant says:

          Who are the civil servants accountable to because it is not the ministers and elected government?

          They are the direct responsibility of the Deputy Governor who thinks the Cayman’s civil service is world class.

          The problems in every department and ministry involve far more than politicians who think they are in charge but are empty vessels. The power to get anything done rests with the chief officers that report directly to the Deputy Governor.

          He has the power to direct that things get done and when they are to be completed. The lack of accountability is the root problem for all failures in the civil service.

  29. Anonymous says:

    They have no solutions because there is no money to put toward solutions for the betterment of the people.

    What is happening with the EIA for the EastWest Arterial? Why has it not been completed? I will tell you why.

    Because, if it was completed by the NRA and their consultants, then it would reveal the REAL reason why the EWA cannot be built – because the Govt does not have the money ($40million+) to put toward it.

    Better to blame the EIA for delaying the road, than to answer questions about why there is no money to build the road.

    Where is the money you ask? Well this is an election year, so just look at all of the “little” million dollar projects that this govt is proposing.

    Why should we build a $50mill high school in Brac to serve 100 students, when the $50mill can be used to build the EWA to help 25,000 people now? Why is the Brac high school budgeted for but not the EWA?

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  30. Anonymous says:

    current bus system could work…but needs relaible timetable and/or gps tracking app.
    no fun making the effort to walk to bus stop and then wait 30 mins for a bus you never know will come.

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    • Anonymous says:

      WBR needs to be reviewed by a qualified urban planner. They would recommend all kinds of things, including logically-spaced waiting/loading cut-out areas to prevent traffic obstruction. The police need to get out there and ticket taxis and omnibuses driving recklessly, failing to signal, and operating without lights after dark.

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  31. Anonymous says:

    free money making solutions:
    Sell goab and build new goab east of frank sound.
    or
    bring in car-pool lanes and congestion charge for single occupancy vehicles that come through hurleys roundabout morning or evening peak times.

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    • Anonymous says:

      NEVER going to happen. There wouldn’t be any MPs left after the following election if they decided to do that.

      On the plus side, the runners that promised to move it back would be sure things.

      • Anonymous says:

        wrong. it’s just an issue the needs cross parliment agreement…then it can’t be used as apolitical football in next election.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Just add it to the list. Mount Trashmore, Development Plan, Tourism Plan, Education Plan…………….

    Vision 2008 anyone?

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  33. Anonymous says:

    CIG could start by ditching the current Public Transport Director!!!

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  34. Anonymous says:

    Our politicians don’t care because they don’t ride the bus. It has to impact them for there to be any action it seems…

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  35. Caymanian says:

    Problem is we always do things a$$ backwards.

    1. We needed to fix GT traffic issue before locking off parts of it to walking only.

    2. We needed to fix GT traffic issues before all the road upgrades at Lindford Pierson Hwy made sense.

    In a nutshell. When you have a bottleneck issue all the work done at the fat part of bottle will amount to zero if the neck itself is not addressed. The neck is Town in general with Elgin and other roads into it. There is no way for the cars to go.

    Even the eastern district road to BT and Frank Sound will have limited effect as 10k cars split into two 5k car roads still becomes 10k at neck. Yes you may reach Red Bay area faster but you will start backing up again.

    We need a solution that is forward looking. Something like an out of town bussing terminal so to limit cars coming into town.

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  36. Anonymous says:

    joey hew asking questions????
    joey hew who said building roads is not the answer…but built more roads!!!
    joey hew who banned uber coming to cayman to protect a rip-off local taxi cartel!!!
    pass me the headache pills.

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    • Anonymous says:

      PPM, Roy McTaggart and Joey Hew gave away Cayman to foreign developers and those that fueled the party. They opened up the flood gates for everything with no regard for future planning and impact on Caymanians. Joey try go sit your dumb ass down and ask Dart for the solutions to share with Jay since they love Cayman so much.

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  37. Anonymous says:

    cig decoded:
    we have done nothing and have no plan in place.
    welcome to wonderland

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  38. Anonymous says:

    There might be a bit of futility in this because:

    1) very, very few people will want to take public transportation because of convenience, and the real issue of first and last mile

    2) we have a firehose pouring more and more people into Cayman each month.

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  39. Guido Marsupio says:

    Has the Deloitte report been released to the public? I’m sure we would like to know what it says, even if only the executive summary and conclusions.

    Let me guess: start with small buses like the taxis we have now, start free, work up to a per ride fare or monthly card, and if demand warrants expand to proper busses. Run a couple of well traveled routes, more frequently during rush hour.

    Where’s my 100K – I’ll write this up for half the price.

    CNS: Here’s the link to the report. It’s also linked in the story and will soon be available in the CNS Library

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    • Anonymous says:

      It was $200k. Only one mention of bicycles in the report, in regards to 1% of students riding to East End School in context of school busing.

      If Cayman had clearly-marked, safe and congruous bike/scooter paths, as featured in other modern urban areas, tens of thousands of residents and tourists could forgo driving, buses, and vehicles most of the time – improving air quality, personal fitness/happiness, and alleviating traffic congestion. There shouldn’t be any stigma against more affordable, and greener transport. It’s not expensive to make it safe…about $10k per road mile in fixed costs using normal Alibaba reflective gripping paint and bollard suppliers. Use the minimum security prisoners to paint it on.

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    • Guido Marsupio says:

      Thanks for the link, CNS. I read the report. Well done Deloitte, but they don’t propose much more than I did above, they just go on and on about it (well, you have to, for $200K) – been there, done that.

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  40. Anonymous says:

    Can’t risk pissing off the Caymanians (2003 versions) and their offspring who all drive the buses and taxis.

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  41. Anonymous says:

    So they are going to merge the one Government Dept. DVDL, that was functioning well with the other F—-d up ones so They can F— that one up too. Brilliant.

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  42. Anonymous says:

    It’s not friggin rocket science. Like everything else, it’s a political football because no one wants to be the one to piss off a block of voters, which just happens to be the only solution.

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    • Guido Marsupio says:

      Why not just employ some/most of the current (voting) taxi drivers for the public trans?

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      • Anonymous says:

        Because they can’t drive for shit. Some of us value our lives and have families to think of.

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