Black Immigrant Daily News
In the upcoming sitting of Parliament, the Leader of the Opposition, Roy McTaggart, is expected to discuss a private member’s motion to implement the recommendations for traffic solutions outlined in a June 2020 report from the Committee On Vehicle Imports and Transportation.
The purpose of the recommendations, according to the private member’s motion, was to “to help alleviate some causes of traffic problems, including the large numbers of old automobiles being imported monthly.”
Below are some of the recommendations that the government is now being asked to “consider as a matter of urgency” from the June 2020 report.
Recommendation 1: Import restrictions
Persons should be allowed a maximum of two vehicles per year that may be imported into the Cayman Islands per person.
Caymanians importing more than three or more vehicles per calendar year should be defined in one of two categories: reseller or collector.
In connection with this, resellers should have a trade & business license and other requirements similar/identical to the licensed car dealers (new cars or used) combined with additional restrictions.
Regarding collectors, these persons should be subject to an annual registration fee ($50 -$100), identified with a special edition “collectors plate” for each new Import.
A special “collectors” plate could be commissioned, and owners charged between $500 – $750 for the plate.
Recommendation 2: Ownership restrictionsfor short-term work permit holders
In the June 2020 report, ownership restrictions were recommended for short-term work permit holders (3 -12 months).
Implementing this recommendation would mean that such persons would be restricted from importing or owning automobiles.
As an alternative, leasing, co-oping and carpooling were suggested.
Recommendation 3: Ownership restrictions for long-term work permit holders
The June 2020 report also discusses import restrictions for long-term work permit holders (12 months or more).
The recommendation is that long-term work permit holders be allowed to own vehicles but restricted from importing.
Instead, such vehicles must be purchased from local suppliers.
Recommendation 4: Age restrictions for vehicles
Regarding vehicle age restrictions, the 2020 report recommended that persons be allowed to import vehicles no older than ten years, with a goal of further reducing this age to six years as public transportation improves.
Recommendation 5: Inspection certificate for all imported vehicles
This 2020 recommendation says that used cars imported into the Cayman Islands must possess an “inspection certificate” completed in the country of purchase before their importation in the Cayman Islands.
Information contained in this certificate would be:
confirmation of the vehicle make, model, year of manufacture, year of registration, body type, vehicle type, passenger capacity, fuel typemaintenance record, emissions, VIN, model number, engine capacity, and numberodometer verification, transmission, radiation (Japan Vehicles), pictures of the vehicles, and advised sailing date and vessel details
Recommendation 6: Introduction of staggered work time/flex time/telecommuting
The 2020 report also recommended that large employers, especially the government and those in the financial services sector, could adjust work shifts so that all employees are not on the road at peak times (for example, having a work shift from 10 am-6 pm).
Telecommuting was also proposed, whereby employers would allow certain staff to work from home.
The report added that, in addition to reducing the pressure on the roadways, this option saves the merchant on the need to lease/buy/build significant square footage to accommodate large staff.
Recommendation 7: Buses for private schools
The 2020 report recommended offering duty incentives for private schools to purchase their own bus or extending the existing “yellow bus” service already provided to public schools.
In addition to the above, it was proposed that school hours be staggered. This would be done by adjusting start and end times for primary and secondary schools.
The expected outcome is to support a reduction in traffic congestion.
Recommendation 8: Improved lane efficiencies
This recommendation suggests the utilization of the multiple lanes already built and changing the direction of travel based on peak travel times.
For example, two to three lanes heading into George Town in the morning and then a similar approach in the evening.
This would maximize the current road infrastructure without the need to build new capacity.
Overhead digital street lights could indicate which lanes are open or closed.
The committee also supported the “complete streets” model, which includes greater pedestrian and bicycle lanes as part of the necessary future infrastructure.
Recommendation 9: Improved public transportation
This recommendation was intended to focus on improved bus service, using larger buses running fixed routes (George Town – Bodden Town – East End), supplemented by smaller Omni buses providing shuttle service to side roads and doorsteps.
In relation to the use of smaller transportation, “Dial- a- ride” or demand-responsive transit was proposed.
Under this idea, vehicles were proposed to pass through each neighborhood, and people could call a phone number and request a vehicle to take them where they wanted to go or to a transit hub.
The report suggested that this could be done by way of an app, which could give customers the uber-styled feel of being able to track location, time of pick up, etc.
Dial-a-ride services may also serve as a valuable way to provide specialized transport for disabled persons.
Park-and-ride (or incentive parking) facilities were also proposed, where parking lots with public transport connections could be used to allow commuters and other people heading to city centres to leave their vehicles and transfer to a bus or carpool for the remainder of the journey.
Recommendation 10: Carpooling
This last recommendation encourages large strata, residential neighborhoods, and major employers to participate in a carpooling program to reduce the number of vehicles on the road during peak times.
According to the private member’s motion, the reason that the June 2020 recommendations are being brought to light now is that “the COVID Pandemic stopped the recommendations in the report from being progressed” and “the traffic situation continues to worsen and negatively impact the lives of citizens.”
In addition to reviewing the June 2020 recommendations, the private member’s motion is asking the government to publish a response to the recommendations and indicate which proposals will be implemented.