Getting Around Grand Cayman Island without Your Own Car (part 2)

by Anne Evans

The Taxi System on Grand Cayman

How the Taxi  System Currently Works:

Don’t expect to be able to “flag down” a taxi (e.g., as in NYC) as taxis are either carrying a fare to their destination or driving to pick up a fare. There are 2 major dispatch services. Phone (345) 943-8888 or (345) 777-7777 to arrange a pick up – or a local retail store will be happy to do so on your behalf.

Agree to the fare at pick up. There is a standardized rate per distance.  That said, to obtain the best rate, be prepared to pay in KY$ cash; it will cost more to pay in US$ cash or by credit card.

Do not expect a reduced rate if you share a cab with another customer headed to a different location – which is generally discouraged by taxi drivers as they are wary of being shafted by tourists.

As per Buses, Taxis vary in quality: some are pristine; some show signs of wear-and-tear on the interior; none are dirty; all appear to be safe. Just guessing (as per buses), that I suspect that this variation is because each taxi is privately owned and maintained by its driver.

First and foremost, be courteous and be generous. Stated fare includes tip, however always round up to the nearest KY$ and add more for drivers that share their “Cayman Kindness” with you – and accept their business card as some day you may well need it!

How the Taxi System Currently Does Not Work

Honestly, Taxi Service on this Island is not bad, although in some cases you risk being overpriced if you look like a tourist.  Taxi service just requires some more standardization and reliability. As example:

Sometimes my wait for a taxi from Camana Bay to my home would be 5 minutes; or 10 minutes; or an hour.  If it is high season and/or a cruise ship was in town, the chances of a longer wait escalates. This is due in part to greater demand, however also greater traffic congestion.

In areas of key demand for taxis (e.g., Camana Bay which is a high-end shopping, residential, business and tourist destination), there needs to be an in-person dispatcher. Currently there are none. Thus, when there are multiple customers waiting for a taxi and one arrives, none of these customers in need of a taxi knows who it is for.

Not that I am a Saint, however this is where I began to practice “Cayman Kindness. Even if I knew that the taxi was arriving to pick up me, I would tell the driver to take the tourists and just be sure that another would be on the way for me. I figure that I am here in Paradise for the rest of my life and am in no hurry. Tourists, however, may only have a week and every second of their Paradise time is ticking.

Improving The Cayman Islands’ Public Transportation

Improving the function and reliability of the existing public transport system – as well as making it more environmentally friendly – is on the minds of all the government officials and residents here – particularly as the cost of living and traffic has become overwhelming.

Future leaders want public transport overhaul – Cayman Compass

Transport system will need to be 24-hour : Cayman News Service


Traffic is a huge problem on Grand Cayman Island. There are way too many cars – way too many old, semi-functional, imported cars that are too soon abandoned when they breath their las gas-fueled breath, and, in particular, way too many BIG cars.

Frequently, I say to myself, “Sir, do you really require  a Cadillac Escalade SUV or a Bently Monstrosity  for travel on such a small island?” Some other Islands in the Caribbean restrict the number of cars per family as well as the size of the cars. When Rick and I finally are able to purchase a car on this Island, it will be small to minimize our impact on the traffic problem, second hand, and a hybrid in good condition to minimize its environmental impact.

The out-of-control traffic on Grand Cayman is directly related to population growth here, which also is not well under control. Yes, we confess to having contributed to this growth in population – however we also paid dearly to become residents and continue to pay dearly to support the Island’s economy and revenues for this privilege.

OUR Current Status – Now a Year Long Lease

Perhaps another year from now (i.e., 2+ years after having relocated to Grand Cayman), we will purchase a car of our own. For now, we decided on a year-long lease (it’s a cash-flow thing😊)

Meet Blue Bunny II – our companion for this coming year’s adventures.

Blue Bunny I was our second hand and subsequently restored Golf Cart.

She kept me warm as best she could while I tried to golf at the course adjacent to our former home in Southwest Utah in the winter months.  She still leads the “good life” there as she was included in the sale of our former home to its kind new owners.

Responsible Car Ownership on Grand Cayman

The following are my thoughts on owning a car on Grand Cayman (and you can hold me accountable to “practice what I preach”).

  • Only own one car.
  • Buy a previously owned car that is already on the Island, less than 8 years old and is in good condition.
  • Keep it small as a truck or SUV takes up twice the road traffic space as a compact.
  • Purchase a hybrid.

And most importantly:

  • Walk whenever and wherever you can.
  • Continue to use the bus system and support its upgrading.
  • And Remember to DRIVE LEFT!

Did you miss Part 1 of my transportation tips on Grand Cayman Island?

If ai cannot solve a problem by baking a cookie, I cannot deal with it

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