Thursday, April 28, 2011

Get On The Bus Gus

There’s been plenty of news circulating the web about how cruise passengers arriving in Bermuda are being denied access to public busses leaving from Dockyard, the island’s west end cruise pier. Cruise Critic picked up the story yesterday as did USA Today’s Gene Sloan, who chimed in on his blog, The Cruise Log. According to the report, which originally ran in the Royal Gazette, a Dockyard dispatcher will carefully control tourist numbers on eastbound busses—even refusing seats to passengers on empty busses—to allow more room for locals. The Gazette says the practice is one of several new initiatives the government plans to implement to improve bus travel for locals, since many have complained of being displaced on buses by tourists when cruise ships are visiting. “People find buses go right past them as they are full of cruise ship passengers,” Transport Minister Terry Lister told the newspaper. “It's unfair that buses come out of Dockyard completely full without any room to pick up people along the way.” Unfair maybe, but I find it ludicrous to deny anyone a seat on a public bus—especially visitors who’ve paid good money to get here.

And apparently I’m not the only one who thinks so.

Sloan’s recent post has 131 comments and counting, most of them from angry would-be visitors. Like this one from Charles R: “Perhaps we should stop clogging your pockets with money as well and just stay away!” Or this bit from Thai Big Foot: “Don't go to Bermuda. Are they happy, now?” Or my current favorite, from XULA 96: “The folks on that island must have brain damage from all the sun and salt water. Don't they realize just about all of Bermuda's revenue as an island nation comes from tourism?” Um, yeah, well, I guess not all of us realize it (elected officials I'm talking to you) but thanks for pointing out the obvious! In the government’s defense, a spokesperson told Bernews that “there are also special shuttle buses that are used to supplement the regularly scheduled service. These go directly to Horseshoe Bay Beach and back and are for the cruise passengers only. Each of these buses leaves when completely full.” Fine, but let it be known: If I was visiting a country—one where I couldn’t rent a car, where taxis cost a whopping $4.15 just to open the door and the only other mode of transportation was a rickety 50cc scooter—and someone told me that I couldn’t board an empty public bus because its seats were reserved for locals, I’d say thanks and take my hard-earned tourist dollars elsewhere. Hear that Sounding Board?

What do you think? Should the government deny tourists seats on public busses in favor of locals? Lemme here your thoughts in the comments section below!

10 comments:

  1. Obviously a wrong-headed policy which speaks volumes about the level of welcome we are willing to extend to prospective (and much-needed) visitors.

    A small quibble though - it's absolutely not correct that 'just about all of Bermuda's revenue as an island nation comes from tourism'. International business overwhelmingly dominates the Bermudian economy. For how long that sector will remain healthy is a question for another blog entry...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Agree with Anon here that the value of tourism to Bermuda's economy is overstated by many commenters. But why this is the proposed solution to full buses, rather than adding more service on days when ships are in port, is indeed baffling.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is just typical of Bermuda. They don't like ex pats, they don"t like tourists.... Oh, just the two things that are actually helping the economy by spending money on the island!!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks to all for your very thoughtful comments. Your opinions are much appreciated!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ha! Great PR - Tourism Minister to meet Transport over bus concerns - http://bit.ly/mval2K - What is there to meet about? Just order more buses!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have chosen Bermuda as a cruise destination 4/5 of my last cruises, specifically because I love the fact that the cruise ships dock there for 2 -3 days at a time. I love that I can use the buses to go anywhere that I want for a reasonable price so I can spend my money on shopping, eating, and visiting attractions. Without the buses, my money will stay right within walking distance of the ship and actually I will spend more time on the ship and less time on the island..meaning less money that I am spending. If you make me feel unwanted ( as most of the AVI destinations) I will just choose to go to another island with beautiful beaches...am I making sense?

    ReplyDelete
  7. That makes total sense, Wendy. Actually, that's my point exactly! Visitors like yourself want to explore the destination they're visiting—and they don't want to pay a lot of money to do it. Here's hoping the powers that be do the smart thing and just add more busses when ships are in town. In the meantime, thanks for reading!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Bow Down to ZodMay 4, 2011 at 8:54 PM

    Well, here's one for the books...I just talked to my travel agent and told her to retract all my plans to visit Bermuda. I was planning an expansive 4 week visit with a planned expenditure of just under $25k with the majority to be spent in Bermuda....but now, after reading this, I'm not traveling to Bermuda...not now, not ever! Why would I want to do business with a country who does not want me in it? I'm sure that there are a dozen other Caribbean islands that would want my $25k!

    ReplyDelete
  9. How will bus drivers distinguish between different kinds of tourists? I visit St. George's every year - via plane, not cruise - and use the bus to get to Hamilton and the South Shore. Is a bus driver actually going to stop to ask how someone arrived on the island??

    ReplyDelete
  10. Much obliged, We have additionally been looking for illumination about that subject for quite a while and additionally your own particular is the better We have uncovered until in the end at this point.yet, ponder the easier accumulation? Will you be certain as to the present? For more click on Hyundai Tampa

    ReplyDelete