There were nearly 400 complaints filed with the Public Transport Board in 2019 – the vast majority of them concerning bus drivers who failed to follow their set routes.
One driver was suspended for nine weeks for misconduct and careless driving. Another was placed on probation for allowing a non-permitted driver to use his bus. At least one driver tested positive for cannabis use, according to details of complaints to the board in 2019 released to the Cayman Compass under the Freedom of Information Law.
There were 18 complaints of misconduct – mostly spats between drivers – and 37 reports of speeding buses.
Of the 384 complaints, 275 resulted in drivers being served with offence notifications.
By far, the most common complaints (212) related to drivers not completing their assigned routes.
In general, most offences are dealt with by the Public Transport Board, which can issue sanctions ranging from a warning to revoking a licence, while others are referred to the police.
The bulk of the complaints related to drivers failing to continue their routes as far as Old Man Bay in North Side. The district’s MLA Ezzard Miller has previously highlighted concerns that buses are dropping passengers off in Frank Sound.
He told the Compass in an interview this month that it was impossible for his constituents to depend on the bus service to commute to and from George Town because it was not reliable enough.
There were also a high number of complaints in 2019 about buses not following their routes past the Cayman Turtle Centre.
Tim Adam, the CEO of the facility, said tourists were sometimes left stranded or waiting in the sun for significant periods of time. He also said his staff could not rely on the bus as a means of getting to and from work.
The centre runs its own shuttle buses to and from major hotels and the cruise terminals, but they stop at 3:30pm.
Adam said he believed the buses were bypassing the Turtle Centre to follow more heavily trafficked routes through West Bay.
“Reliability is an issue and it becomes a vicious circle,” he said.
“Because people can’t rely on the bus they stop using it, and the less people that use it, the more the drivers want to avoid the route.”
Adam said the service provided by the buses, when they do stop, is generally very good.
He recommends an app-based system that allows travellers to see when the next bus is coming as a better solution than a rigid timetable.
He said that would also enable users and officials to track the buses through GPS to see if they were following their routes.