Taxi drivers who are over-charging,
soliciting illegally or falling below acceptable standards face losing their
A three-strikes system has been
implemented to arrest reports about problem drivers, according to MLA Cline
Glidden of the Ministerial Council for Tourism.
“We have organised a meeting with the
transport providers to once again state the rules for orderly and quality
delivery of service and have applied a no-nonsense, sliding suspension scale
for non-compliance,” Mr. Glidden said at the annual general meeting of the
Cayman Islands Tourism Association on Thursday, 14 April.
He said that he and Premier McKeeva Bush
addressed a group of 200 to 300 taxi drivers at a meeting on Tuesday, 12 April,
where they revealed that illegal soliciting for business or disorderly conduct
will incur penalties.
A first offence will draw a month’s
suspension; a second offence gets a three-month suspension; and after a third
infraction there will be an indefinite revocation of licence to operate.
“We have had complaints at the dock and
it is a terrible representation of our ambassadors,” said Mr. Glidden. “We have had meetings
and some of the reports we have had from guests are scary.” In one case, a
couple was charged $90 for a trip between The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, and
Cracked Conch in West Bay. An altercation between taxi operators in the car
park ensued after the couple ordered a different taxi for their return trip.
There was also a report of a driver taking passengers on a tour to the site of
a shooting and another case where passengers were told they could only spend 15
minutes at Public Beach before they had to return to George Town.
Mr. Glidden said that although he had given operators the opportunity for
a two-week grace period to prepare for the measures, the taxi drivers said they
would prefer the system be implemented immediately.
Acting Director of Tourism Shomari Scott, who is also head of the Public
Transportation Board, said the measures will be put into effect by three or
four public transportation officers, plus the Port Authority officers who will
have the ability to report infractions to the Public Transportation unit.
“When we look at our exit surveys, one of the top comments that’s made as
a positive is the hassle-free nature of a Cayman Islands vacation,” said Mr.
Scott. “I guess they are comparing us to some of the other ports where they
would have that type of solicitation, where they would get that type of hassle.
“The Cayman Islands has always been known as the place you come and you’re
not hassled and that’s starting to change, so before we fall down that slippery
slope, we’ll need to correct it as quickly and as strictly as possible.
“What was also good was that it was stated that ‘we are giving you this
warning, so that when it happens, don’t call us because we are not going to
listen to your complaints that you are not able to eat tomorrow. Because you’ve
been given the warning and it’s damaging the reputation that we’ve always
He said that the PRIDE customer service programme is there to teach
tourism businesses how to conduct themselves, but if they are not taking
lessons from it, measures are now in place.
“So for the first time they’ve got the hard message that… it’s one, two,
three strikes and it only takes one, two or three to get suspended and then
they will all fall in line.”
Mr. Glidden added that the government has encouraged the formation of new
associations in order to inform government of issues with transportation.
“[These will] represent the tour and taxi members so that we can more
efficiently deal with a representative voice for this segment of the industry,
versus the many hundreds of voices previously.
“The first project we are in agreement on is for them to organise the
implementation of taxi meters in their vehicles, which is long overdue and will
be a huge thing for the industry,” he said. Trina Christian, executive director
of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association, said taxi metering has been on the
table for a while.
“It’s one of these issues that, whilst it’s not up there with the airport
[improvement plans], it’s a quick win and is a lot less cost to implement,” she
said. “Taxi metering comes up time and time again. In our membership survey and
in our assessment by the people who developed PRIDE … the taxi experience was
rated one of the lowest. “We hear anecdotal experiences that guests are having,
from our members. I see that as a short term win that we’d like to push.”