(CMR) The Public Transport Board (PTB) said it has not granted approval to increase the fares charged on public buses and has confirmed that notices which have been placed on public transport were not generated or authorized by the Board. All increases have to be approved by the PTB, which falls under the Public Transport Unit.
Despite that, bus drivers have been circulating a piece of paper indicating a price hike and have told patrons of the increase. The notice shared that there has not been an increase in the past twenty years.
The Public Transport Board has acknowledged that a request had been made to increase public bus fares. However, given the impact that a fare increase could potentially have on the community and the cost of living, the request is being carefully considered, and no decision has been made at this time.
CMR was informed of notices of the increase posted in buses; however, sources close to the Ministry of Transport said these drivers had made the increases themselves.
On Friday, acting swiftly to address the issue, the PTB notified all omnibus drivers and operators that notices advertising unauthorized fare increases must be taken down immediately.
The Board further stated in its correspondence to public transport operators that noncompliance with this directive will be promptly addressed and could have adverse consequences.
The increase has garnished a lot of public attention, with many discussing the merits of an increase at this time. Some have said the increase would be justifiable because buses are also being negatively impacted by the recent increase in gas prices and should be compensated for it.
Buses are the only form of public transport outside of taxi cabs and are regulated by the Public Transport Unit. Many lower-income people rely on this form of transportation. The main bus depot is located in central George Town in the library parking lot. The public is advised to note that approved bus fares are as follows:
George Town – West Bay CI$2.00 / US$2.50
George Town – Bodden Town CI$2.00 / US$2.50
George Town – East End CIS3.50 / US$4.37
George Town – North Side CI$3.50 / US$4.37
George Town – Cayman Kai CI$8.00 / US$10.00
Bus Service around GT CI$2.00 / US$2.50
In recent times, the Minister of Tourism has been exploring alternative options to improve the public transport system, with the minister recently taking a trip to Barbados for the regional International Roads Federation (IRF) Caribbean Regional Congress.