While the Cayman 2.0 series has thus far been looking at the ideas and strategies that could make the country a better place, we’re changing things up for December. This month, we’re highlighting 21 people who could turn some of those ideas into reality – or at least get the ball rolling – over the next calendar year.

The 4 Dec. Cayman 2.0 section.

Police issued 272 tickets for driving under the influence is 2019 and 321 the year before that. Nearly a quarter of suspects’ blood alcohol content levels were at least twice over the legal limit, according to the most recent crime and traffic statistics.

“I’m tired of this, I don’t want my kids driving on the road,” said Rachel Smyth, owner and director of app-based ride-hailing service, Flex. “That’s a major problem we have in Cayman.

Smyth and her business partner Alex Cowan have been trying to get their business off the ground since 2016 and plan to officially launch this month.

Cayman to this point has relied on traditional call-taxi services and a fleet of omnibuses and vans serving as a public bus system overseen by the Public Transport Unit.

Smyth believes services like Flex – which mirrors overseas services like Uber and Lyft – would encourage more people to get rides when they’ve had too much to drink. US-based studies have returned mixed conclusions as to whether that’s the case statistically, but Smyth is confident that providing customers with the convenience of an app-based service would do just that. 

“There’s a lot of people that are out there drinking and driving, which would use a service like [Flex] if it was available.”

21 people in 2021

The service has two apps – one that allows customers to find and track a ride, have direct communication with the driver and pay for the transaction through their mobile app. The second app is for drivers. 

Similar services Uber and Lyft have expanded into global businesses, with Uber giving seven billion rides globally during its 2019 financial year. 

“Your traditional dispatch, somebody will answer and they’ll say, ‘OK, I’ll be there in 15 minutes.’ But they’ve already got somebody in the car, and it takes them another 30 minutes to get there. So the good thing for the drivers as well is that they don’t get caught out on that. That second-closest driver will be guaranteed to get the ride if they’re the closest person there. And then the user obviously doesn’t have to wait that long for the taxi to actually get there. And they can see them on the GPS track. They can see exactly where the taxi is, and they can see which route they’re going home everything, and it’s all cashless.” 

Flex plans to launch with 55 drivers, all of whom must be licensed by the PTU and may have experienced a decline in their traditional bus or taxi businesses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“This just opens them up to a completely different demographic of clientele, and customers for them,” Smyth said. 

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