The worst problem with traffic in Grand Cayman is now at rush hour for people coming into George Town from the Eastern districts and driving home at night. Two major roads (Shamrock Road and the East-West Arterial Road) come into Prospect from the Eastern districts and meet at the Chrissie Tomlinson roundabout. This causes a massive bottle neck. Then returning at night cars back up at the Hurleys roundabout as people head East to get home. Some say the morning traffic problem was very much exacerbated from late August 2019 by the Department of Education moving their public school start time from 8.30am to 8am meaning that everyone with children were trying to get their kids into school at approximately the same time. The reality is probably more simple - trying to funnel numerous major roads through small roundabouts will cause a bottleneck and we will probably all have to come to terms with the fact that traffic at rush hour in Grand Cayman, especially if you live past the Grand Harbour Shopping Centre, will be bad from here on out (other than in the school holidays when it is wonderfully light).
Taxi App & Ride Sharing Update
In better transport news, Cayman’s taxis are having a much needed technological transformation. The recently launched Government’s digital taxifare calculator, CI:GO, and the upcoming Flex – an Uber-style app from local entrepreneurs Alex Cowan and Rachel Smyth – hope to solve the problem of inconsistent and extortionate taxi fares that burden the Island and its guests.
Benefits of Owning a Car
Nonetheless, the most convenient, comfortable and speedy mode of transport on-Island is owning your own car. Temperature, relentless summer rains, precarious driving and the lack of sidewalks rule out the options of walking or cycling, while the local bus network is intermittent and does not cover all areas. In addition, waiting in the hot sunshine to then sit on a crowded minibus with little, or no air conditioning, is not everyone’s idea of the ideal daily commute. There are some major bonuses that Cayman car travel retains: little traffic (outside of rush-hour), free parking in 99% of locations and virtually no traffic wardens! If you are a couple or have a family, then the discussion will arise as to whether you need one car or two. In our experience, you will need two cars, unless you are prepared to be entirely beholden to the person that has the car.
According to Government records, there are 35,067 licensed motor vehicles and 440 licensed motorcycles on Cayman’s roads. However, not only do these figures date back to 2017, but they do not take into account unlicensed vehicles of which there are an estimated 37,406. It is thought that today the real figure is nearly 80,000 (unlicensed and licensed). To tackle this, the Government has announced plans to install several fixed scanners along Cayman’s road network, the first of which will be mounted along South Sound Road. The scanners will read details from the vehicle’s electronic number plate, and the information collected will determine the status of the licence, registration, and insurance. Eventually these machines may even be able to issue electronic tickets, but for now their purpose is to collect information for the police and traffic departments, and crack down on traffic and licencing violations.