Uber service might reduce drunk driving

| 18/04/2018

I was wondering if an Uber-type taxi service would be allowed in Cayman? I believe the amount of drunk drivers on the road here in Cayman must partly be a reflection of the horrendous prices taxis charge and the lack of other viable alternatives.

Ask Auntie, CNS Local Life, Caymanian statusAuntie’s answer: This is another of those questions that has come up before. A previous column on Ubers (see Hoping Uber finds its way to Cayman) outlines the regulatory hurdles that need to be cleared for ride-sharing services to become a reality here.

But just in case the situation had changed, I checked again with the Ministry of Transport. As of now, an official explained, there has been no change in the Traffic Law that would allow for an Uber-type car service. In addition, according to the law, “all taxis have to be approved by the Public Transport Board”.

I also feel compelled to comment on your point that impaired drivers getting behind the wheel to a certain degree is due to a lack of cheaper alternatives to taxis and inadequate public transport in general. I do not believe that some drunk drivers decide to go on the road because they don’t want to pay the cost of an expensive taxi. Anyone who drives while intoxicated is simply a selfish idiot who is not thinking of their wallet (or the safety of anyone else). It is not a decision based on economics or convenience.

The time to organise other arrangements to get themselves and their passengers home in one piece is before the drinking begins, not after the pints have already been downed. In case I wasn’t clear, I have zero tolerance for this behaviour.

Some readers may try to offer what they believe are reasonable excuses for driving after drinking but I am not interested. Too many lives have been lost and families devastated by accidents caused by drunk drivers. Arrange for a safe way home or don’t go out. Full stop.


Category: Ask Auntie, Transportation Questions

Comments (19)

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  1. Kmanlady says:

    I hear you, however, will you ask the restaurant & Bars to lower their prices to accommodate your nite out?

    I am a caymanian taxi driver key word Caymanian…I know that some of the paper Caymanians are overcharging our guest including you as they tried it with me…those taxi drivers should have their license revoked but regardless of how many times you report them nothing is been done… when I question why I’m told the politican are involved and this leave the PTB hand tied…

    So I am asking any politician that is hindering the PTB from going their job by trying to eliminate the dishonest taxi drivers please remove yourself and allow them to do their jobs because if you are doing your job in running the country and looking out for people you will get elected over & over again.

    You all may not know that it was us Caymanian that built the Tourism of this island with our friendly honest and caring way of life…so let’s not change that for a vote…

    At this time as a Caymanian Taxi Driver all I can say to all those people who have been overcharged I am sorry that you had to experience it, however we Caymanian are not like that. Maybe you should pre-arrange your nite out and request a Caymanian Taxi Driver and I can guarantee you s better experience.

    We are not all a like..

  2. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think any taxi driver will have any problem charging less if the COST of living goes down especially when something goes wrong with your vehicle. To fix a car is CI$50-100 per hour. Insurance for most cars is CI2000 plus unless the vehicle is over a certain amount of years in which case only 3rd party. Fuel is constantly going up.
    How much would you accept for pay per hour plus costs of vehicle? A vehicle has to be cleaned after every day. What about when we take tourists to the beach? Do you think they rinse off properly after a couple of hours on the beach? This causes a lot of wear and tear on vehicle. If we were to buy a new vehicle every 7 years which is the norm, money has to come from somewhere.
    You all come out 3-10 beers or mixed drinks for the night and usually after 11pm is when the drunks come out. You want your mom or dad to walk you to the door and just an apology when you throw up in the car? Come on now, if you plan to go on a bender stay home and get drunk. Beer is $4 on up, mixed drinks $10 on up ? You are spending over a CI$100 plus for the night.
    Why are you complaining about the car that costs over CI$30,000 and all the other costs? How much do you think we should get paid? How much do you think would be fair? I eat lunch and drink a rum and coke or a mojito cost $10-12 and the fancy drink which is still a rum drink is $16. If you don’t want to take a cab, then don’t. Throw up in your friends car ,have them tell you how much it costs in time and money. Taxi business or any other business have good days and bad days. Have a nice day.

  3. Anonymous says:

    People won’t take an Uber with the ridiculous prices here in cayman just a damn taxi is $23 ,

    “I’ll take the chance and drive home “ many.

  4. SSM345 says:

    Drink driving is ingrained in our society. It wasn’t a traffic offense till 81? The level they measure us on (.100 which equals about 5 drinks consumed within a couple hours) is probably highest on Earth. Have you ordered a rum and coke before; a triple/quadruple serving is normal, its even stronger at the bars not on WB Rd. There is very little enforcement or deterrence other than December each year. There is no public transport system after 9. Pretty much all social activities for adults revolve around a bar or drinking. Deaths by DUI hit home because chances are we know the victim or culprit. Its not a criminal offense unless you kill someone or evade police. The standard of driving by the majority whilst sober is atrocious let alone if there’s alcohol involved..People will always drink and drive until sh*t changes; make it a criminal offense, create a public transport system that operates throughout the night, lower the legal limit, increase road blocks year round every Friday and Saturday night when bars close or happy hour finishes would be a start. When a Chief Inspector is busted for DUI, leaving the scene of an accident and a list of other offenses it says it all. Go to a couple of bars on any given night and Senior Govt officials can be seen setting the example for all. It is what it is plain and simple. Expecting drunk people to make rational decisions can be equated to Trump tweeting threats to Russia or N. Korea; absolute lunacy.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well, Well, Well….
      The last sentence of this comment has not aged well. And you were doing so good!!!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    every uber i have ever taken has been 100 times better experience than local cayman taxi.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Saying that all drunk drivers are selfish idiots is washing your hands of addressing the issues that drive people to make choices. Auntie, you might enjoy reading Nudge, which talks about how the system can be designed for people to make better choices more easily. There is a lot of science looking at decision making.

    There aren’t two states: drunk and sober. There is a large gradient between the two. Cayman has a very high legal blood alcohol limit especially compared to countries with adequate public transportation. Sometimes drunk hits you when you don’t expect it and sometimes stress, tiredness etc. can make you more drunk than usual.

    While I would say that if someone is driving they should not consume any alcohol at all, without public transport and taxis that seems unreasonably unfair. Not everyone can live their life so planned that they never do something spontaneously. First, set up reasonable alternatives, and then, only then, berate people who don’t use them.

    Many of my peers have been or are in prison for killing someone while drunk driving. None of them were selfish idiots though they made a poor decision. I truly believe that the taxi cartel is partially responsible for the deaths of those people my peers hit. If you could quickly get a taxi with a fair price then I think fewer drivers would be on the roads impaired, or partially impaired.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with your last sentence but the one before it is crazy. If someone drinks and drives and kills someone, that is 100% on the drunk driver.

      • Anonymous says:

        The specific actions are 100% due to the drunk driver. The systemic problems are partially due to the taxi cartel.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dear “Unreasonably unfair/peer of many DUI manslaughterers”,

      Binge drinkers know days in advance when (and often where) they are planning to get their drunk on. It’s never a surprise. It’s also not unreasonable to expect these “adults” to assess their own level of self-control in advance and make responsible plans for their transport if they have a history of weak self-restraint. Not drinking is not only a legal requirement but a perfectly acceptable option when planning to operate a vehicle. Those that can’t stop or moderate their own consumption are by definition alcoholics and need professional help. Those that allow this behavior are culpable and will have to live with the deaths that result from this pervasive illness. Having lost dear friends to selfish friends like yours, I know firsthand what I’m talking about. It has nothing to do with taxi versus Uber pricing, especially during what will be 10x Uber surge-pricing at bar closing. Do you even know how Uber pricing works?

      • Anonymous says:

        Not my friends, my peers. I didn’t say friends because they are not my friends, they are just around the same age.

        • Anonymous says:

          I knew what you meant. And I knew others would pounce on you for it.
          Some people don’t know their words…
          And I totally agree about the Taxi Cartels!!!! A cheaper option will never come to fruition.
          Taxi’s wouldn’t be able to overcharge anymore, making their extra side money.
          App based services provide an avenue for feedback. That is NEVER going to happen!! lol

    • Anonymous says:

      You do realize that if they know that they need to get home, and they know that they don’t have a way of doing so before they leave to go out, the fact that they drink and drive is entirely their fault and they were putting drinking and fun above everything else, including other people’s lives. That sounds a tad selfish to me.

      They may not be selfish people, but that decision they made was both selfish and idiotic.

      If you are drinking one night, you should know your limit and then stop at that limit if the only way home is to drive yourself there.

    • Anonymous says:

      Total BS . Blaming Taxi or Uber fares for someone’s death at the hands of a drunken fool behind the wheel. If an individual cant make the distinction between a $65.00 cab fare to get home safely , against their privilege to drive & threaten injury & death to another road user , pedestrian or cyclist ..they need to be off the road for a long time, indefinitely if deemed so. It is socially & morally not acceptable to make excuses for drinking & driving in any form. Read what Auntie says above and take notice:
      “Anyone who drives while intoxicated is simply a selfish idiot who is not thinking of their wallet (or the safety of anyone else). It is not a decision based on economics or convenience”

  7. Anonymous says:

    “Some readers may try to offer what they believe are reasonable excuses for driving after drinking but I am not interested. Too many lives have been lost and families devastated by accidents caused by drunk drivers. Arrange for a safe way home or don’t go out. Full stop.”

    Sorry Auntie, but I can’t help thinking that you are saying ” I have made up my mind, please don’t try to confuse me with the facts”


  8. Anonymous says:

    1 million thumbs up Auntie.

  9. Anonymous says:

    of course it would…but cig would rather protect the existing taxi cartel that has a proven history of ripping-off tourists and locals….

    • Anonymous says:

      My wife and I have been regularly using taxis in Cayman on “date nights” for 25+ years and don’t find their pricing to be particularly out of line with other urban centers, considering the distances and time travelled. Sure, there are variances of a couple bucks here or there, but nothing that would compel us to abandon our principles and morality to consider impaired driving as a choice. We have a selection of past favorites on speed dial – all very reasonable, friendly, and helpful.

      Kids need to know that If you sit in a taxi for 20 mins *anywhere on the planet* it’s going to be more than a $5 cab ride. You want to go 10 miles crosstown in NYC, Toronto, or London? Get your billfold ready. The childish expectations of what “Uber” will do to pricing are not accurate either. “Surge pricing” at bar closings will translate into multiples of what is being charged now. I am a regular Uber customer in multiple cities and know how it works!

      …and none of this will resolve the widespread alcoholism, or social acceptance of ritual DUIing! Selfish idiot alcoholics are the problem, not taxi rates. I will concede that any requirement for credit card mobile POS for taxis would be a big improvement over the all-cash taxi system – both for passengers and taxi-owners.

  10. StopTheCrime says:

    Uber is for more than just drunk drivers. Not everybody is along a bus route and they are not always timely. Uber cars need to pass inspections too, just like taxis. Uber drivers also have to carry insurance, pass background checks and have a clean driving history. There should be no reason to block Uber or Lyft or any ridesharing company from operating in Cayman.