News

Concerns over PTU drivers, Ministry leaders talk complaints

Dec 18, 2017 Business

Transport ministry leaders say they're concerned as complaints against public transport drivers are on the rise. But they also say the number of complaints is also relatively low given the number of customers who use public transportation annually. According to the Ministry of District Administration, Tourism and Transport there were 392 complaints against public transportation operators in 2016. That's out of 2.1 million visitors for the year. This year, there are 475 complaints through October, and according to the minister, tourism numbers are up 5.5% through the same time frame. They say those increases are linked. Transportation ministry leaders say they understand the concern over public transportation operators. "Having 475 complaints, the board is not pleased with that. Safety is and will always be our primary concern," said Rosa Harris, PTU board chairperson. In 2017 3 PTU drivers have been suspended and 31 placed on probation. "We're actively addressing the concerns of the public and working to resolve that," pledged Durk Banks, PTU Director. Public Transport Unit licensed operators include taxis tour buses and public buses. It's clear where most of the complaints stem from. "It's the public bus service that we have the most concern with. There are a number of busses that serve various routes. There's competition for fares, for getting the number of persons on board. Take into consideration there are people on board entrusting them with their lives," Ms. Harris said. But with more than 2 million people riding public transportation per year and 833 licensed operators they say it's important to put numbers in perspective. "The number of activities is low. We'd always like to reduce it and road safety is a concern for us," said Mr. Banks. They say it's also important to keep in mind what qualifies as a complaint. Complaints vary from tourists leaving a towel in a vehicle. Minister Hon. Moses Kirkconnell says it's no coincidence complaints and tourism numbers are both up. "Obviously, that puts a tax on our infrastructure. We understand there's an economic value to how people are transported and we understand as we grow, we have to grow our regulations," he said. Government this budget cycle allotted for one additional PTU enforcement officer and continue to screen drivers for drugs, traffic offenses and general health and wellness. The PTU asks anyone with complaints or compliments about drivers to call them at 946-1323 or e-mail cayman.transport@gov.ky.