The number of vehicles on Cayman’s roads continues to climb.

Ministry of Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure officials said they may require some 20,000 more licences next year, which could lead to a total of 45,000 licensed vehicles on Cayman’s roads by the end of 2020.

The number of vehicles was discussed as legislators reviewed the roll-out of the Electronic Vehicle Registration system in Finance Committee on Wednesday.

Tristan Hydes, deputy chief officer in the ministry, told legislators when the EVR system was introduced almost three years ago, the projection for the number of new licence plates was from 200 to 230 cars per month, but during that time, the figure has increased to 400 cars per month.

Hydes, under questioning from Opposition Leader Arden McLean, said the system had some “growing pains” but he believes that they are on track for the roll-out.

This year, $1 million was allocated to the project to acquire more plates, which Hydes explained was due to the demand in vehicles.

“We had to take some of the new plates we had designated for replating and use them for new plates and hence why we came back for you all for more money to get more plates,” he said. “In all fairness, we will need to do it again ‘cause they are still growing.”

Last year a total of 36,194 vehicles passed inspection, according to the Economic and Statistics Office Compendium of Statistics.

McLean questioned the delay in rolling out the project on a timely contractual manner.
Hydes said there were some issues. “We did not anticipate such rapid growth of cars,” he said.

McLean questioned Hydes on the status of the replating of vehicles, as he said he continues to see vehicles on local roads using the old licence plates.

We have replated about 25, 000 cars so far and we have also done, in the same timeframe, about 26,000 new cars. In addition to that we have about another 25,000 that we have to replate,” Hydes said.

McLean said it is time to cut down on vehicles entering the country.
“We need to find some other means of reducing [that],” McLean said, and suggested a bus service.

Speaking on the Radio Frequency Identification scanners, which register vehicle speeds, Hydes said two antennas for the RFID stations have been installed in two locations.

“One is in operation and the other one is being tested as we speak and should become operational very shortly,” he told the MLAs, adding that next week the antennas will be inspected for certification.

He said there were some technical issues on integrating the old and new systems. “But I think that we have crossed those hurdles right now,” Hydes said.

He said six stations have been planned, and the ministry is considering installing stations near schools.

“We want to use it for speed enforcement,” Hydes said.