Online poll: Cayman’s bus service gets bad grades

Many unhappy with bus drivers

More than 60 percent of the respondents to a online poll rated Grand Cayman’s bus service either poor or terrible. 

Of the 448 total respondents, the largest segment of them – 166 people or 37 percent – gave Cayman’s bus service a “terrible” grade. 

“Just terrible and not organized,” said one person. “After 6 p.m. no buses at all around. If it is raining, they just stop working. One time I waited two hours for a bus. I prefer to call a taxi.” 

“The bus service is terrible, the result of which is four cars per household and rush hour gridlock,” said another person. 

“Poor quality, poor driving skills, poor consistency and routes,” said someone else. 

“While taking the bus with my two small children, the bus driver cursed at me for moving too slow,” said one person. “They curse the elderly and drive like they are in a race with one another. I saved every penny I had and got my own car. [I] hope to never take the bus service ever again.” 

“Everything from the quality of the equipment to that of the drivers, and the standard of service is far below anything that Cayman should be aspiring to,” said someone else. 

“It is almost non-existent in North Side,” said one respondent. 

“Very, very terrible,” said another person. “Most bus drivers that I have observed take excessive and dangerous risks by speeding and not following the rules of the road, putting their passengers and the general public at risk every day with their poor driving habits.” 

“I would love to support the present bus service, but unfortunately I put my safety first,” said someone else. “Cayman needs a properly run bus service that does not drop off and pick up every 15 yards.” 

“It is the worst service I have ever seen and I have lived in many Third World countries, many a lot poorer than Cayman,” commented one person. “It is a total disgrace to the government and the people of the Cayman Islands.” 

“Loud music; talking on cellphones whilst operating vehicles; no dress code; some look like they took their clothes from a hamper and some like they haven’t combed their hair or had a bath; loud and boisterous; male drivers relieving themselves on their routes; not completing their designated route thereby discharging passengers to seek alternate transportation to final destination; no respect for speed limits through residential areas; and tailgating. Get the drift?” said another. 

“Is there an option worse than terrible?” asked someone else. 

Another 106 people – 23.7 percent – rated Cayman’s bus service “poor.” 

“It’s not the buses that are poor,” said one person. “It’s the lawless and unruly drivers who do whatever they want, whenever they want.” 

“They’re never on time or you get two buses at the same time,” said someone else. “They don’t go to all locations and are too small and stuffy to travel in. That’s why tourists don’t use public transport more.” 

“The service to/from West Bay is frequent, but not reliable outside rush hours,” said another person. “The buses are mostly dirty, and drivers are often rude and drive recklessly.” 

“The drivers’ attitudes and reckless driving are the biggest problems,” echoed one person. “I’ve been on buses where I ask the driver for a stop, but he is so busy chatting up the lady in the front seat that he misses my stop and when I say something he gets an attitude with me like it’s my fault he wasn’t paying attention.” 

“It is operated as a jobs program rather than a organized public transportation system,” noted another. 

Eighty-four respondents – 18.7 percent – said Cayman’s bus service was “fair.” 

“I’ve had bus drivers ask me how far I’m traveling, then had the response, “that’s too far and not worth my time,” then simply close the door and drive away,” said one person. 

“In the evening it’s difficult to catch a bus,” said someone else. 

“Directionless, inconsistent, takes forever and sometimes there’s no room,” said another person. “But it’s charming and fun.” 

“Too many people dismiss the local bus system,” said one person. “Its reliability does depend on where you live, but for maybe 50 percent of Grand Cayman, you can catch a bus within a 10-minute walk of your house or workplace. The buses are small and sometimes overcrowded, but that’s a minor inconvenience. 

“To improve the local bus service, the routes need to be extended to serve South Sound/UCCI and down to ICCI in Newlands. We need to move away from this independent operator foolishness and operate the system centrally, on a set schedule based on commuters’ needs and not a bus driver’s fancy. The buses needs to operate later into the night and on weekends. New buses wouldn’t hurt either.” 

Twenty-four people – 5.4 percent – thought the bus service was good, but only one left a one-word comment: “Affordable.” 

Only eight people – 1.8 percent – deemed Cayman’s bus service excellent. 

“Affordable, frequent pickups,” said one person. 

“It got me where I wanted to go, but I didn’t use it often,” said another. 

“Value for money, it’s pretty good,” said someone else. “Schedule and dependability, not so much. Comfort and luxury, well … but for two bucks, you can’t beat it.” 

Another 60 people – 13.4 per cent – responded “I don’t know” to the question. 

“I have never ridden on the bus,” said one person. 

“I don’t know of the ‘service’ but their driving is horrible,” said someone else. 

“Too scared to try it,” said another person. 

Editor’s note: 

This is the last online poll. For the reasons the Cayman Compass has made this decision, see today’s editorial.