Rogue cabbies face loss of licence

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    Taxi drivers who are over-charging,
    soliciting illegally or falling below acceptable standards face losing their
    licence.

    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
    had’.”

    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.”

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    Mr. Glidden
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    8 COMMENTS

    1. Forgive my skepticism that any real enforcement will be levied upon taxi drivers. It seems that these comments are made for the sound bytes but follow through is weak or non existent.

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    2. where ever you go in the world, cabs drivers are lowly people who drive cabs as a job of last resort to make ends meet. No one grows up and says I want to be a cab driver… well I guess unless you are in Cayman.
      Customers are getting bilked by the local cabbies. If I hire a cab, it doesn’t matter how many are in the cab but in Cayman it does. A drunk ride home from the Palms to SS cost me 25 but with a few others it was 50.
      Did I learn my lesson? yes, I try my hardest to never take a cab, and I know very few people who would disagree with me.
      Recently in Panama, they forced all cabs, private or not, to paint their vehicles yellow. This should be one of the minimum standards here.

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    3. And how is it that they think it acceptable to deliver three people from the airport to SS yet charge each one the individual fare therefore taking 3 times the going rate for the trip but we still have to wait to fill the taxi and make stops before our destination. This would be acceptable if the fare was shared.

      I go out of my way NOT to take a taxi in Cayman as I cannot be bothered with the argument and fleecing.

      This is echoed by my friends as we share rides and pick up and drop each other regularly at the airport in lieu of taxis.

      All the taxis should be uniform in colour I agree. This would be a start to making them more acceptable.

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    4. the article mentions that these are ROGUE instances of bilking customers… it happens every time you get into a cab.

      A 7 mile cab ride from Miami International to South Beach is 25. Royal Palms to South Sound… 25CI

      You ever see how many cars there are in a bar parking lot compared to the number of patrons getting into cabs? there is a reason for that.

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    5. Vietnam wrote:

      Caymanians do not behave in this manner. This sounds very much like rogue foreign Taxi Drivers.
      Deport them.

      Of course they are Caymanians…. How do we deport them? would love to see them drive a cab in a metropolis.

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    6. Ha, in my experience, Taxi drivers who are over-charging, soliciting illegally or falling below acceptable standards face losing their licence, would mean Cayman would end up with almost no taxi drivers. 🙂

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    7. Holy Shipyard Batman! Let’s do a bit of homework and find out how many cabbies are not Caymanian. Something tells me that it’s a very small percentage, as I’d like to see someone getting that work permit approved. I have riden in cabs all over this planet and the Cayman experience rivals that of most third world destinations. The icing on the cake is being made to feel as though you are inconveniencing them when you open the door…, Shut the front door!

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