New transport boss arrives in turbulent times

| 27/10/2009

(CNS): The Public Transport Unit (PTU) will open for business at a new location and with a new director next month but the new man at the helm comes to office at a time of disquiet among bus drivers who are less than happy about their accommodation. Former Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) traffic cop manager Inspector Durk Banks will be faced with a petition when he takes up his new job from the drivers who are disgruntled over what they were told was a temporary move of their depot which is becoming increasingly permanent.

Banks’ primary duties as PTU director will be overseeing and guiding the unit’s work and providing operational direction to the Public Transport Board but the disgruntled local bus drivers are also likely to be on his agenda.

Earlier this week drivers were in the news complaining that they were promised a return to their terminal by the George Town library once the new development there was complet but that has not happened. Drivers say they are disappointed that the area intended as their new bus station is being used as a parking lot and they have not been allowed to return. Citing a loss in revnue of as muchas 75% the drivers say they are struggling to keep their head above water.

In a release from government information services announcing his appointment and the new offices the Leader of Government Business, and Tourism Minister McKeeva Bush made no mention of the bus driver’s petition.

 “I’m very pleased that my ministry has made this move a priority,” he said. Minister with responsibility for “The new office provides a better working environment for staff, and adequate accommodation to serve the public. I extend a warm welcome to Mr. Banks and look forward to the expertise he will bring to the unit.” 

The Public Transport Unit was established to manage Cayman’s public transportation system, which includes taxies, tour vehicles, omnibuses, church and school buses, limousine operators, shuttle/courtesy vehicles and water sports vessels.

The Public Transport Unit’s contact details as of Monday, 2 November will be: Telephone contact: 946-1323

Mailing address: P.O. Box 10432, Grand Cayman KY1-1004  Cayman Islands; Physical Address: Unit 17, 2nd Floor, Rankin’s Plaza, 21 Eclipse Drive, George Town, Grand Cayman

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  1. Passenger says:

    Who are these (rude) officials at the Thompsons Building every night making the passengers walk to stand at the end of Shedden Road or walk to the temp bus station to catch the buses?  After a hard day at work I don’t want to stand around on street corners or in that filthy temp car park in failing light to wait for the bus, and I certainly don’t want to receive that kind of attitude from officials who seem to have forgotten that they exist to serve us… the passengers.  The Thompsons Building is safe, convenient and well lit and you can actually sit down to wait for the bus.  Someone said something about a restricted zone but I have never seen anything to substantiate this with the exception of a sign stating that parking is restricted to 30 mins.  Someone else mentioned that the old bus station is in a "silent zone"… are you guys making this up as you go along?

    One lady politely asked when we were going to get our bus station back several times only to be ignored and finally gruffly told to"move along".  This is disgusting behaviour towards your customers Transport Authority and I certainly hope Durk is going to start listening to his customers, the passengers.

    I really do think its time the paying passengers (who have been ill -informed and treated throughout) had an explanation and better treatment.  I also think its time for us passengers to stand behind the drivers who we all rely on and who we all know are suffering some awful treatment of late.

  2. Bologna/one stop drivva says:

    EE/NS bus on Crewe Road at 7pm yesterday, you are my new bus driving hero. Indicating to pull off to disembark passengers then indicating to pull back in to trafic. THEN, indicating correctly around a roundabout! I love you. You are the best bus driver ever.

    • Anonymous says:

      Is this true?  I am shocked.  This is a danger to motorists.  We all know that the signals of buses do not bear any relation to what the bus is doing.  So how can we deal with someone who is behaving in this manner?

  3. one stop drivva says:

    West Bay bus at 6pm yesterday, take note.
    Cutting across the vacant lot next to the closed Courtyard hotel may or may not be illegal. That is irrelevant. What is relevant is that it is extremely ignorant, unnecessary and dangerous to your passengers, yourself and all other road users.
    All that just to save 30 seconds or so of your drive.
    Stop it.

    • Name de plate says:

      Name them and shame them – go to the Forums link at the top of the page and name your bus and their offense!!! 

      Let’s see if it really is just a few drivers…

      • Passenger says:

        It really is just a few…

        • Re Ality Sux says:

          Then I gotta change my movements cause I buck up on dem ignoramouses every day.  Idjuts need to realise they don’t rule da road.  MAKE THEM AMBASSADORS – if the break ANY law, however insignificant – throw the book at them….


  4. A Fellow Caymanian says:

    Durk is well qaulified and experienced for this position. I for one found it refreshing to see a Caymanian given this opportunity. I can only hope he has the support of Government to make some needed improvements and he is not just another Caymanian put on the front line to take the heat of public criticism alone. Yes the Caymanian Public as well as the drivers, whether taxi or bus drivers, are concerned but in time i am sure there will a more harmonius balance.


         That being said i must congradulate Durk, you have achieved alot and i wish you the best in everything. We who know you well are proud to call you not just a Caymanian but a friend. 

  5. Beloved Cayman Islands says:

    Congratulations Durk Bank.

    They way the Bracas do it. Professional as ever.

  6. Passenger says:

    Congratulations Sir. 

    Not to rush you in your new job, but our bus depot has been resurfaced and ready for some months now.  Would you mind facilitating the move back to the original depot please?  If you are also able to get us some form of seating and shelter from the rain many of us passengers would very much appreciate it.

    Thanking you in anticipation of your kind help and assistance.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Change is good! Our public bus runs along the beach and of course one can catch the huge turtle farm busses to that attraction. However The taxi cabs are much too expensive and owning and up-keeping a car is one of the major bills which everyone who lives must carry expatriate and Caymanian alike. The dump is an issue now but the emissions from our growing vehicle population are on the rise. An affordable transport system would benefit investors, the environment local businesses and the common person regardless of social, cultural background. I am tired of hearing our government present past and future taking about developing our island for people who are not even here. If you want to make a difference address the issue of transport to the hositail, to the Airport and to UCCI. We are so backwards when it comes public transport. I am surprised that we have a board. What are they doing anyway? Every major city and even in every third world country I have visited have at a minimum affordable transport to HOSTIPALS, UNIVERSITY/SCHOOLS and AIRPORTS. I am not taking about taxi Cabs. They are a rip off. I would love to see a bus depo set up at the AIRPORT, and a CUIRCUIT BUS set up through out GEORGE TOWN with perhaps just three or FOUR STOPS……AIR PORT, HOSPITAL and UCCI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  INSTEAD OF BUILDING ROADS FOR MILLIONS OF DOLLARS WHY CAN"T WE SPEND JUST A COUPLE THOUSAND TO GIVE US A REAL PUBLIC TRANSPORT OPTION??????????? I HATE DRIVING!!!  Anyway the majority of expats who are here are acustomed to using efficient public transport. And any Caymanian with half a brain knows that this would be good for the island. Alot of caymanian are too "proud" to catch the bus or walk on the road perhaps you can work on changing the mind set. It is a SILLY IGNORANT one, however as the PUBLIC TRANSPORT SYSTEM is SILLY they can not be blamed too much. GIVE US PROPER TRANSPORT TO THE FINANCIAL DISTRICT, THE AIRPORT, THE HEALTH CARE DISTRICT, THE SCHOOL DISTRICT and THE INDUSTRIAL DISTRICT. I am sick of DRIVING.



    • Ex Pat Bus Passenger says:

      This Ex Pat used the public transport in the UK and the public transport here.  There’s no comparison – the UK public transport services and its drivers stink in comparison – the drivers here are much more polite, honest and very hard-working and most of them are prepared to go that extra mile for their passengers which is more than I can say for the system in England.

      I love using the public transport here and find it very reliable – I just wish it ran a little later into the night, particularly at weekends.

  8. Anonymous says:

    However good Durk might be he has a struggle from day 1. Public Transport Unit? What a joke.

    1. It needs some sort of Public transport. Private operators who can chose whether to run their vehicle at any given time (or not) and drive recklessly to overtake other buses and get extra business do not qualify. The fact that they can deviate from their route to drop off a passenger where they want to go says it all – we have a system of private operators operating a shared taxi system.  Only way to solve this would be to buy them all out, and offer them jobs as public bus drivers. But that would involve standards, timekeeping, and reliablility.

    2. Good luck with the staff of the Unit. Anyone walking past the bus station will not have failed to have noticed them in their Air Conditioned vehicle, engine running, doing….nothing….for hours at a time. Try changing that mentality.

    And why oh why do they need a new office? How many staff are they? We the reduction in the size of Government they could just use existing desks which must now sit empty.


    • Ex Pat says:

      1.  Some of the ladies who catch my bus each day have to walk in the order of two miles to catch the bus and consider the ability to be driven home for an additional dollar invaluable.  If the drivers could not go off route to accommodate those of us who live in unserviced areas how on earth would we get to work each day?  I bet you have a car dont you?  Its obvious from the inaccuracy of your comments you don’t have a (realistic) clue. 

      2.  They don’t want to just sit there in the depot, nor in fact do they unless the transport authority makes them.  Right now transport officials are trying to make the buses sit and wait in the depot like that and allow buses out one at a time in 10 minute intervals.  I myself have observed this and seen the drivers asking to be able to get back on their route rather than sit half an hour or so until all the other buses in front of them have gone. 

      But enough of your mentality, I actually came here to ask the new transport boss a couple of questions:

      1.  When are we (the public) going to be informed about getting our bus depot back?

      2.  Why can’t we catch the buses at the Thomspson Building?  Why are we constantly being told (rudely) to move on almost as if we were vagrants dirtying the streets?  And why do the transport officials harrass the drivers the stop to pick us up?  The Thompson building is a convenient and central alternative for some of us.  Its safe, brightly lit, it has seating and somewhere to shelter in the rain – which is a damned sight more than I can say of the current temporary depot and even the old (now renovated) depot where we might have had seats, but god help us if it rained!

  9. Bluff Rat says:

    Way to go, Durk! Keep up the good work!

    *Class of 1985, Cayman Brac High School*

  10. rasta says:

    the police lost one of the good ones. congrats on your new position, i am sure you will serve them well.


  11. Roy Tatum says:

     Congrats Durk.  I know that you will do well in your new role.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations Durk!

     You did very well with the Traffic management, and we know you can do the same with this post.

    Unfortunately this is another significant loss for the RCIP.

    P.S.  ‘Happy Driver’, more than likely he does read CNS.

    • Anonymous says:

      The question is why Caymanians in the Police Force can leave, get management position in other government departments or in the private sector and excell, but appears to be unable to do so while in the Police Force. I think it goes to show that if the opportunities were afforded the RCIP would by now have a Caymanian Commissioner of Police. This needs to be looked into…

      • Knowledge is Power says:

        Congratulations Durk. We are proud of you.

        As for the RCIPS, I know that you have been very patient and worked very hard for many years just to reach the Inspector position.  Inspite of your obvious skills and abilities it was a constant struggle with many obstacles put into your path.  Basically I think the RCIPS doesn’t know what to do with Caymanians who are truly proffessional police officers. Succession planning indeed, it if was discontinuity planning they would pass with flying colours!

        Once again congratulations Durk and all the best in your future career.

        God Bless the Cayman Islands!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Congrats "Dingus" !!!! Good to see you have finally retired from the RCIPS for a better future in life.

    You are one of the smart ones who didn’t allow or accept the promises of a gazetted position, to later hold you hostage until you are 60 years old. As we all know, those presently gazetted are actively seeking a way out to avoid this, amongst other factors that are well known. 

    How sad it is that intelligent and qualified Caymanians no longer have the aspiration or dream to become Commissioner of Police in their own country of origin.

    So much for good Succession Planning in the RCIPS !!!!




  14. Anonymous says:

    Congrats Durk! Make us proud!!


  15. Happy Driver says:

    Congrats to Mr. Banks and although it’s true you’ve come on board at a rough time we hope that Mr. Bush’s remarks on the new office providing a better environment for staff will also bring change to the level of customer service we received at the old location.

    I won’t even attempt to call names here but I’m sure that many, if not all, drivers will know what and who I am referring to.Too many times we have been dealt with improperly and spoken to like we’re dogs whenever we have to come to this office for any matter, big or small, and I am a Caymanian driver that is not afraid of speaking out like many of the non-Caymanian drivers. Complaint after complaint has been made about a particular staff member so I doubt if a new office will change this person.

    Mr. Banks, if you’re reading here, we hope and pray that your new appointment will result in some relief to drivers coming to your office and it would be a good idea to remind this particular staff member that we are humans too and should be treated as such.

    God bless.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations Durk!!!

  17. Jim Reeves says:

    Another Bracca!!!