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Tourists to be denied use of busses


Paul from Maryland

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Ha ha too funny!

I am not to worried and dont think others should either. We will all get to where we are going...may take a littler longer but we will get there!:)

 

That is what I think. People should not get too worried about this. Everyone will get where they want to go. And likely it will not take too much longer.

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Reading the readers' comments on the newspaper column was certainly an eye-opener.

 

We've been going to Bermuda for 45 years, always staying at what was the Hamilton Princess or a cruise that docked in Hamilton; last year for the first time we cruised on the Summit, and we've booked another Summit cruise this spring, bringing our DD, DSIL, and DGS. I'm afraid that, now that I know that we "overweight," "cheap" cruisers are not the type of tourists that the people of Bermuda welcome, we'll find another vacation destination. There are many other islands that don't throw up obstacles to enjoying their attractions as well as many parts of my country and the rest of the world that I would enjoy exploring.

 

This is a minor situation that could be easily solved - a few beach buses, revamped ferry schedules, schedule revisions and additional buses - and probably will be. But realizing that Bermudians only want wealthy guests to visit their island and tolerate the rest has made me look at their island in a completely different light.

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Reading the readers' comments on the newspaper column was certainly an eye-opener.

 

We've been going to Bermuda for 45 years, always staying at what was the Hamilton Princess or a cruise that docked in Hamilton; last year for the first time we cruised on the Summit, and we've booked another Summit cruise this spring, bringing our DD, DSIL, and DGS. I'm afraid that, now that I know that we "overweight," "cheap" cruisers are not the type of tourists that the people of Bermuda welcome, we'll find another vacation destination. There are many other islands that don't throw up obstacles to enjoying their attractions as well as many parts of my country and the rest of the world that I would enjoy exploring.

 

This is a minor situation that could be easily solved - a few beach buses, revamped ferry schedules, schedule revisions and additional buses - and probably will be. But realizing that Bermudians only want wealthy guests to visit their island and tolerate the rest has made me look at their island in a completely different light.

 

After 45 years of traveling to Bermuda, you must be aware of the small size of the islands and how their relative positions makes travel in Bermuda difficult. These are obstacles "thrown up" by Mother Nature, not the Bermudian people. Add thousands of people to a single point of the transit system, and you're going to have backups.

 

The ferries don't sit around idle, they're always on the go. I'm not sure what revamping the schedule can do. There probably aren't a lot of extra buses to add to the schedule. Compared to the Caribbean islands I've been to, Bermuda's public transportation is extensive and efficient. As a result, people have high expectations when they go to Bermuda. How many posters here have taken a local bus in St Thomas or Nassau?

 

I'm sorry if you're insulted by someone's description of cruise pax as "overweight" and "cheap." Perhaps that's an unkind description. But if you've been going to Bermuda for 45 years, you must have noticed that the "typical" cruise pasenger of 2011 is quite different from that of 1966, I've been cruising only 30 years, and I've noticed a difference.

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I'm sorry if you're insulted by someone's description of cruise pax as "overweight" and "cheap." Perhaps that's an unkind description. But if you've been going to Bermuda for 45 years, you must have noticed that the "typical" cruise pasenger of 2011 is quite different from that of 1966, I've been cruising only 30 years, and I've noticed a difference.

 

The comments were interesting in that many locals note a decline of Bermuda itself. Increases of crime, drug use, business closings etc.

 

Some of the local comments have to be taken with a grain of salt. They are exagerated. Local politics enters into it. There are two political parties and they have differences.

 

I have though noticed that there has been a decline the last few years. Compared to the Caribbean Islands, ten years ago I would have said Bermuda was ten times better. Now I would say it is five times better. It is worrying.

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Yes, but I've noticed a change in the type of tourist in general. I'm of the generation that arrived at the airport in a suit and heels, sports jacket and tie for my DH, and not the pajama bottoms that many people find to be the preferred costume because they're so "comfy."

 

I've only docked at KW once, so I'm not well versed in the ferry and bus schedules. But if there 4,000 people a day, several days a week, who require transportation to the beaches and other attractions, it would seem to be a better business decision to find ways to accommodate them other than refusing them access to buses that the commuters need. It makes little sense to me to have deep-water docks to accommodate large ships, build attractions around them and then not spend a little money to purchase a few buses and staff them.

 

Cruise passengers on large ships are what they are; if you don't want to attract them (and their money) and want to welcome only genteel, wealthy visitors, don't invite them.

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Cruise passengers on large ships are what they are; if you don't want to attract them (and their money) and want to welcome only genteel, wealthy visitors, don't invite them.

 

There has for years been a contradiction between what Bermuda thinks vistors should be and what they actually are or can be. Five or six years ago I read an article in the Royal Gazette where one of the tourism leaders seemed to believe that there were 100 million millionares living in the northeast United States and that was who they wanted visiting. They also thought they could replace cruise ship visits with visits by large yachts.

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I've only docked at KW once, so I'm not well versed in the ferry and bus schedules.

 

Then why did you suggest revamping the ferry schedule? I seriously doubt that there are any spare ferries, certainly not extras of the large ones that run from KW to Hamilton. What do you think needs to be changed?

 

But if there 4,000 people a day, several days a week, who require transportation to the beaches and other attractions, it would seem to be a better business decision to find ways to accommodate them other than refusing them access to buses that the commuters need.

 

Ever try getting on a bus or subway after the Macy's Parade in NYC? After New Year's in NYC? Or at 5 PM in any city, for that matter? When a large number of people want transportation, there will be clogs. Unfortunately, it seems that every one of the 4,000 people at KW wants to get on the first bus, and that just isn't possible.

 

It makes little sense to me to have deep-water docks to accommodate large ships, build attractions around them and then not spend a little money to purchase a few buses and staff them.

 

Bermuda built attractions at the West End to give people docked at KW something to do right near the ship. I think their expectation was that at any given time, some of the KW pax would be at those attractions, and not trying to get transportation to somewhere else. It seems that more people want to leave KW than was anticipated.

 

As for purchasing "a few buses," you make it sound as if Bermuda has hardly any buses. Bermuda has 12 different routes, plus the tourist beach buses that run from KW. Should they pull buses off other routes in order to serve KW better? That's the only way they are going to get more buses. They don't have lots of spare buses, and there's noplace nearby to borrow them from. It takes time to order buses and get delivery. And it's expensive to buy more buses, especially when the extra buses bought for the KW cruise passengers would be idle for 6 months out of the year (and also on the days when nothing is docked at KW). Like every other country, Bermuda is feeling the pinch of tight money. I'm sure they're trying to do what they can with what they have.

 

Even with the backup at KW, Bermuda's public transportation is much, much better than on the Caribbean islands. Check out St Thomas. A website I saw listed about a dozen taxi services for St Thomas. No real buses, although you can charter a "safari" bus. (I've been on one of those, it's terrifying) Nassau has jitneys that hold 20 people. St Lucia and other islands have privately owned "buses" that are really minivans, and maybe they stop and maybe they don't. Forget a schedule.

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3rdGenCunarder

Good post. It's so easy for people to offer up what they think is a simple solution to a complex problem.;)

 

Here's an interesting article. As stated, the government has hinted it may look to the private sector to "pick up the slack" but this entrepreneur needs financial backing. The reader comments at the bottom are interesting as well.

 

http://bermudasun.bm/main.asp?SectionID=24&subsectionID=899&articleID=51594

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this doesnt look good at all! :eek:

http://www.royalgazette.com/article/20110503/NEWS04/110509972/bus-and-ferry-system-a-joke-say-tourists&utm_source=newsletter20110503&utm_medium=email&utm_content=article_title&utm_campaign=newsletter

 

 

Angry tourists have called the public transport system “a complete joke” after being welcomed to Bermuda with an hour's wait.

Passengers on-board the Enchantment of the Seas were yesterday eager to visit the Island's sights such at Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, Horseshoe Bay and the Crystal Caves.

But minutes after arriving at King's Wharf, Dockyard, they came face-to-face with the stark reality of Bermuda's timetable cuts.

One woman complained: “How the heck do you get out of this place?” as hundreds of tourists faced lengthy waits at the bus and ferry stops.

There were angry scenes as tourists were told there wouldn't be any ferries for at least an hour as “it was lunch” and they'd have to wait “up to half an hour” for a bus.

Tourists complained about the “lack of organisation” and “rude staff” as they repeatedly asked how they were supposed to get to their chosen destinations.

They also watched in disbelief as some buses were sent on their way with empty seats while other buses drove straight past them saying they were ‘off-duty' or going to the ‘garage'.

Tourists told The Royal Gazette that buses and ferries should have been lined up ready to transport the 2,500 passengers who were on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship.

They called it “one of the worst ports” they'd been to as their best-made plans to see the Island in less than 24 hours had been ruined.

It comes after the Ministry of Transport introduced plans for a dispatcher to “control tourist numbers” in a bid to save seats for locals. Locals have long complained that tourists were given priority as full buses were driving past them on the way to Hamilton.

Meg Dennis, from London, angrily vowed “never to come back to Bermuda” after the dispatcher tried to stop her getting on the bus with her suitcase. The visitor was told suitcases were not allowed on buses and “rules were rules.”

Ms Dennis, who had got off the cruise ship to stay with her daughter for two weeks, said: “This is absolutely rubbish, I've come all the way from England to visit my daughter, I wait for ages then I'm turned away from the bus.

“Come on, I'm very angry, I've got to get to Hamilton.”

The dispatcher replied: “That's the rule, take it up with the Tourism Minister if you don't like it,” before the bus driver intervened and said he would take the woman “just this once” but only because he wanted to avoid the bad publicity.

Deon Brantley, of Baltimore, was trying to get a bus to Hamilton and was told to stand in one place by one dispatcher, when another dispatcher came along and told him he was no longer in a line.

He said: “It's a complete joke. There's a ship with 2,000 or more passengers on board so buses should be waiting.

“It really should be more organised. Everyone is confused about what's going on. We are asking questions and we are just getting shouted at.

“One minute we're told to stand over here as there are two lines then there is only one line. All I want to do is get to Hamilton, how hard can it be?”

The Royal Gazette was at the bus stop to watch the fiasco unfold from about midday to 1pm yesterday. In that time just five buses stopped to pick up the hundreds of passengers waiting. Just two of these buses were ‘special' shuttle buses to take cruise ship passengers directly to Horseshoe Bay. During that time no ferries showed up, but about 200 people stood in line.

Darlene Pierre, from Washington DC, said she was confused because “everyone is asking questions but no one seems to know what is going on.”

She said: “We've been on several cruises and I have to say this set-up is very confusing. It's one of the worst ports we've been to.

“We got off the ship and we had to ask lots of people what direction to go in.

“Now we get over here, we are told there is no ferry for an hour and there's no sign of any buses.

“Things should be a lot more efficient. They knew the ship was coming, the buses and ferries should be lined up waiting.

“I know it's a small Island but it's as if the place can't cope.”

Bharati Shah, of Pennsylvania, said: “I'm not at all happy right now. I've been waiting here for half an hour and they tell me there's going to be no buses for another half an hour.

“We just can't get out of here, you've really got to work on improving your transport.”

Meanwhile, bus drivers agreed that the service wasn't up to scratch and called on Government to do more to improve the timetable for both tourists and locals.

One bus driver, who did not want to be named, said: “The one thing Government shouldn't mess with is public transport, especially not at this time of year. The problem is that we have new Tourism and Transport Ministers who know nothing about the public transport system.

“It just wasn't like this last year. There were at least 10 buses taking the tourists straight to Horseshoe Bay, they'd get off the ship and straight on the bus. Today there are just two buses going straight to Horseshoe, it's organised chaos.

“We can't get the people on buses quick enough. People are left waiting around and it's not fair. Sometimes they are hanging around all day because we just can't clear the backlog.”

Another bus driver said: “Tourists aren't happy but they are only here for a day or two so don't know any different.

“It's the locals who are most annoyed and rightly so. People are waiting for up to two hours for buses on South Shore. You drive past them with a full bus and they stick their middle finger up at us.

“Drivers are getting the blame, but it's not our fault, we are just doing what we are told.” Transport Minister Terry Lister did not respond to requests for comment yesterday.

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Spend some time reading the comments :mad: at the bottom of the link provided by the previous poster.

 

 

SBtS

 

I did and responded myself. I am going to be very sad if I spent all this money to take our children there this year and we wont be able to get around.

 

I did see some comments about how other carribean islands people are left to find their own tranportation however the taxis on that island arent even half as expensive as they are on Bermuda.

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It "sounds" like this situation is worse on day of arrival when everyone is trying to get anywhere but Kings Wharf/Dockyard. That might be a day to sightsee and explore that immediate area/Snorkel Beach etc., at least for a while until the crowd thins out? We have a guide our first day there, will take first ferry second morning to St Georges and then explore Dockyard last day but if we didn't have a guide first day, this would be in reverse so we wouldn't be in the madding crowd first day off the ship..

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I think this week the situation was made much worse by the ships delayed docking. This caused the passengers to debark just after the ferries left for Hamilton, and during the lunch gap in the schedule. Had those 300 to 400 passengers that wanted to go to Hamilton been able to get right on the ferry when they got off the ship, there would not have been so many bus issues. But it happened. I think the Transportation Minister and the Tourism Minister in this new Government need to do a better job of getting on the same page.

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It "sounds" like this situation is worse on day of arrival when everyone is trying to get anywhere but Kings Wharf/Dockyard. That might be a day to sightsee and explore that immediate area/Snorkel Beach etc., at least for a while until the crowd thins out? We have a guide our first day there, will take first ferry second morning to St Georges and then explore Dockyard last day but if we didn't have a guide first day, this would be in reverse so we wouldn't be in the madding crowd first day off the ship..

 

 

I really have no desire to do anything in the Dockyard. We can shop here at home and go to regular beaches here. I really hope things arent bad like that next week when we go.:(

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Wonderful, I picked a great year for my first TWO cruises to Bermuda. :rolleyes:

 

They better get their junk together and fast! What is the problem here? This should be an embarrassment to the govt officials of Bermuda!

 

Heck I have seen some of the POOREST nations provide transportations to cruise ship guests -- this shouldn't be a problem for Bermuda. They certainly charge enough in govt fees!

 

I have less than 3 weeks and I don't know if we will have transportation when we get there! :mad:

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I'm going to have a stroke. Thankfully I have charted a bus from BeeLine to transport my guests to & from the wedding, but I was planning on gettng to Hamilton by ferry for my hair appt. I really hope there is an improvement in organization and fleet in the next 2 weeks. :(

 

I really hope all of you are able to see the things you have planned, and this is a minor hiccup for the 2011 season. *fingers crossed*

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I really have no desire to do anything in the Dockyard. We can shop here at home and go to regular beaches here. I really hope things arent bad like that next week when we go.:(

 

I'm not a shopper either (and also not a beach person!) but the Maritime Museum etc. are there, enough to fill a couple of hours till the madding crowd dissipates.. just a suggestion.

http://www.bermuda-attractions.com/bermuda_000027.htm

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Wonderful, I picked a great year for my first TWO cruises to Bermuda. :rolleyes:

 

They better get their junk together and fast! What is the problem here? This should be an embarrassment to the govt officials of Bermuda!

 

Heck I have seen some of the POOREST nations provide transportations to cruise ship guests -- this shouldn't be a problem for Bermuda. They certainly charge enough in govt fees!

 

I have less than 3 weeks and I don't know if we will have transportation when we get there! :mad:

 

Your mistake was not booking two cruises to Bermuda, it was booking them on cruises to the Dockyard port. I have heard over and over about how the Dockyard is fine etc. I never liked it as the port. People here know I am a broken record about my dislike of the Dockyard. I booked Veendam last year and this year to avoid that mess.

 

Being an optimist though with all the bad press and problems I think they will do something if they have the means. I just hope they have the means.

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