Some issues identified as barriers to Caymanians entering the public transportation industry have been removed in regulations to the Cayman Islands Traffic Law.
Application fees for Caymanians seeking to become tour bus or public transit bus drivers have been waived under the Public Passenger Vehicles Regulations by order of Cabinet. Previously, Tourism Minister Cline Glidden Jr. has said the $100-$150 was onerous, particularly for someone who had been unemployed for a significant period.
The regulations also make provision for situations where prospective tour drivers who may have an impairment that currently prevents them from undergoing any driver’s test – including a written test of local Cayman Islands knowledge – to be assisted in taking those tests.
The testing is one of the main difficulties in hiring local tour bus drivers, according to Nigel Mitten of Majestic Tours.
Mr. Mitten said the issue of time it takes to process applications was made worse by requirements that all applicants; whether they drive tour buses, limos, taxis, omni buses or school buses, take a general knowledge test. In the new regulations, that requirement has been removed for school bus drivers. “From the reports that were given to me by the operators, apparently there was some 95 per cent failure rate on the test,” Mr. Glidden said, referring to it as a ‘tourism test’. “Obviously, any test that is failing that number would indicate there is a problem.”
“I’ve never had any person pass that test the first time,” Mr. Mitten said.
About 18 months ago, Mr. Mitten said there was discussion of a 30-day or 60-day time frame for tour bus owners to test-drive their drivers, during which time they might receive on-the-job training that would enable them to pass general knowledge tests and determine if they liked working in public transit. Minister Glidden said he agreed with “an interim or a grace period that would allow the operators to be able to use the drivers for a period of time … that would allow them to get accustomed to and determine whether they were suitable for their operation”.