Public Transportation, Traffic and Owning a Car on Grand Cayman Island, Part 1

by Anne Evans

Rick, Smudge the expatriate cat, and I arrived on Grand Cayman Island without a car. It was sold the day prior to our departure from Miami, Florida – an escapade deserving of its own blog.

We anticipated initially using Zun, a service which allows you to borrow from a fleet of cars, with on-demand access – from a few minutes to a whole day. However, they have a hefty monthly charge.  So, we turned to use of our own two feet (we do a lot of walking), the public buses (when traveling unencumbered to distant parts of the Island) and the taxis (predominantly when carting home groceries or going out for the rare dinner).

We anticipated purchasing a small second-hand hybrid within roughly three months of arrival, but that plan didn’t happen.

As the unanticipated expenses associated with moving to Grand Cayman began to mount (I will talk about how expensive it is to live in paradise in other posts), a year passed, and we still could not afford to buy a car. However, we had certainly gotten in our walking exercise daily.  Kind strangers – aka, friends we had yet to be formally introduced to – would comment how fit we looked.

We also became well versed in the nuances of the public bus system and taxi service, as well as Island etiquette for passengers when utilizing these services, because we seriously had come to rely on them!

Learning the Public Transportation Options on Grand Cayman

Locals and Expats without their own set of wheels are quick to learn the way the public bus system and taxis operate, fare expectations – and how important it is to be courteous to these drivers (operating these vehicles is not an easy job!).

Tourists would be wise to learn the same prior to arrival on this lovely Island. Unfortunately, more than once I have observed American Tourists violating the cardinal rule of courtesy – and I find myself apologizing to the Caymanian service provider for that customer’s behavior, given my obvious American accent (i.e., we are not all “Ugly Americans”).

The Bus System on Grand Cayman

Public bus on Grand Cayman Island

The bus transportation system on Grand Cayman is usable and affordable. If you reside on this Island without a car, it is a necessity. If you are a tourist, it is a worthy adventure into experiencing life as a local.

The following is a relevant link that shows a map of and discusses costs of use of the public bus system on Grand Cayman:

How the Bus System Currently Works:

Fares are due in cash when you step off the bus and are handed directly to the driver. Anticipate KY$2 per person/US$2.50 per person; double that if you do a transfer through the George Town Central Station. All buses do a circle route that ends in George Town Central Station. Buses bear a color-coded banner and number according to their route.

Other than the mandatory end-of-route stop at the George Town Central Station, busses stop and pick up passengers on demand – i.e., the passenger knows which bus they need, stands on the sidewalk along that bus’s route, and waves the bus to stop when they desire a pick up. And when a passenger wants to get off, they announce it to the driver as they near the desired stop.

Buses are variable in size, however, generally expect that any given bus can transport roughly 14-18 passengers. They will make you aware (toot of horn or flash of headlights) if they are full and cannot pick you up.

Buses vary in quality: some are pristine and even bear some customized exterior paint design; some show signs of wear-and-tear on the interior; none are dirty; all appear to be safe. Just guessing, however I suspect that this variation is because each bus is privately owned and maintained by its driver.

How the Bus System Currently Does Not Work

Traffic congestion is a BIG problem on this Island. And although the Public Bus System (if improved) is a potential solution to the Island’s existing traffic problems, as a rider at peak traffic hours, you too will be snagged in the traffic delays. Learn to be patient and choose your travel excursion times wisely with understanding of the peak traffic congestion periods.

Return service from some of the more remote areas of the Island (e.g., East End, Rum Point, Northeast part of West Bay) can be dicey. It is easy to catch a bus at the George Town Central Station or in South/Central West Bay out to these areas. However, it may be tough to identify a bus that will take you back from these areas to the George Town Central Station.

As example, in mid-May of 2023, I needed to go to the Health City Medical Center in East End for a CT Scan (We live in the West End of the Island). Given we had no car at that time, I chose to take a taxi to the Medical Center, however, to return home via the bus system.

The taxi ride took roughly 45 minutes and cost KY$75 (assume US$93.75). The return bus ride took 2 ½ hours and cost KY$4 (assume US$5), plus the “kindness tip” of KY$2 (US$2.50) to the gentleman who picked me up at Seaview Drive near the hospital and took me to a location where he said I was far more likely to be picked up by a bus!

East End of Grand Cayman Island

Other Caribbean Islands have done better with developing Public Transportation, including using buses powered by electricity. A great example is Barbados (Barbados Public Transport Makes it Easy to Get Around the Island ( The Cayman Islands are making the effort to try to learn from their success (Cayman looks to partner with Barbados on creation of local public bus system – Cayman Compass). Honestly, we could survive without a car if there was a reliable bus system that covered our Island.

Next time: Taxis, Traffic, and Our Transportation Choice

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


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