Transportation Passes Spark Outrage On Forum

April 19, 2016

[Written by Don Burgess]

News of only one day transportation passes being sold to cruise ship passengers has sparked outrage on a popular online forum.

More than 100 comments have been posted in the Bermuda forum of Cruise Critic with the overwhelming majority not happy with the new policy of only selling the one-day transportation pass at the Visitor Information Centre as opposed to tokens or the two-day pass.

Many have advocated emailing tourism to get the policy rescinded.

Slideshow of various cruise ships in Bermuda:


Poster Flowers44 said: “The changes are not very tourist friendly, that’s for sure. We will be in port Saturday, August 20th at 2 PM and… if this hold true, we will be staying at the Dockyard for our time there.”

Another, Gershep, echoed that sentiment by saying: “Wow, this would really stink. We were planning on taking the ferry to St. George but if I have to buy a one-day pass just to do that I will stay on the ship. Not worth $76.00 for four people.”

One potential visitor,, said: “I was thinking about a July cruise with my granddaughter but may now change our destination.”

Regular Bermuda cruiser Njhorseman replied to Dinae by saying: “If the cruise line had raised fares $7 per person between the time you were first considering taking the cruise and the date you actually were about to book it, would that minor fare difference cause you to not book the cruise?

“What if the average price of a cocktail increased by $1, and you typically drank one cocktail a day. Would the $7 additional for a 7-day cruise cause you to not book? In all likelihood you would never even know if the cruise line raised drink prices [or shore excursion prices, or the price of just about anything on board] or by how much they were raised…and they do that all the time.”

He said the extra $7 is how much more a person would have to pay for buying two one-day passes [$38] over the two-day pass [$31].

A Minister of Transportation spokesperson said the new policy “would allow more taxis and minibus operators to take advantage of demand for daily transportation to Horseshoe Bay Beach and nearby attractions, and reduce the demand for the bus service… However, we feel the new policy is in the best interest of promoting the use of private sector transportation.”

Poster Tricia724 said: “It’s clear that the changes are designed to force cruisers to use taxi and van services rather than less expensive bus and ferries. I’m sure many cruisers would prefer to use taxi service because it is faster and more direct but haven’t done so in the past because of it’s high cost. So Bermuda’s reasoning isn’t to allow taxis to become more competitive with other transportation but to raise other options to an exorbitant level to make taxis a more attractive option.

“There are so many things wrong with this scenario and most of them are going to be dumped on cruise passengers. I actually feel sorry for the people who work at the Dockyard Information Center who will have to explain to frustrated cruisers that they can no longer buy tokens or multi-day passes there.

“Judging from our roll call alone, many are repeaters who keep returning because of the ease of getting around the island and the good treatment they receive there. “Now, all of a sudden, we’ve become a cash cow for the government. This change will not be received well. And most people won’t know about it until they arrive.”

She added: “I don’t have a problem spending money on vacation. I do have a problem being ripped off. If I want to spend the day at St. George and the ferry ride costs $4.50 each way, then I think that’s what I should pay. No more. No less. If I have to buy a pass for $19, then I’m effectively paying an extra $10. For two of us, that’s an extra $20.

The officials need to rethink their options. Tourists are bringing big bucks to the island, and making it more difficult and expensive to get around does not seem like the smartest move to me.”

Other cruisers, like DrivesLikeMario, pointed out that the new policy certainly isn’t green and is promoting more carbon monoxide into the atmosphere by encouraging taxi and shuttle bus use of public transportation.

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Comments (47)

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  1. Jim Bob says:

    I’m no expert here but surely the Bermuda Tourism Authority should have something to say about this promptly. This policy clearly is not designed to attract visitors to the island. If taxi’s and minibuses want to be more competitive then let them lower their prices.

    • You mean you want Hanbury to comment, if I I was getting $1000,00 a day I would’nt give a F!@# either.

    • What?? says:

      So you feel that the taxis and mini-busses should compete with Government buses on price? So we should offer them a subsidy? After all the busses are taxpayer subsidized.

    • bigga2 says:

      I suggest you do a little research before making suggestions. Minibuses are only $ 7 per person to the beach and taxis are $ 8 pp or less if 7 people. The token may be $ 4.50 but our guest have to walk at least 300 yards to catch the bus in Dockyard, walk a third of a mile down to the beach and then do the reverse at the end of a hot day. Taxis and Minibuses provide door to door service for just a few more dollars!

  2. Roger the Cabin Boy says:

    WOW!!! What a STUPID, SHORTSIGHTED policy!!! Don’t have to look very far to figure out how, why, or when Bermuda’s tourism industry started the downward spiral. The instinct to approve policies like this are a perfect recipe for failure. Congrats Bermuda!

  3. neutral says:

    I guess the Tourism Authority should get another BONUS for allowing this to happen. Very concerning…

    • colibm says:

      There was a comment last week from the BTA – and they weren’t happy about it either and were inquiring with Transport about it.

  4. True Lies says:

    If people are griping over ~$10/person, then why do we care if they come here or not? Cruise passengers do not spend that much money here. They typically eat on the boat, take a cheap bus to Horseshoe Bay or other beaches. There is very little benefit to Bermuda hosting these cheap tourists, so who cares?

    • LYNDA says:

      I totally agree! I’m a tourist BUT we fly to BDA, stay in hotels, support local business. Do not even like when cruise ships are in town…

    • BOS2BDA says:

      Head Tax $30 per person for arrivals
      $25 x 370,000 expected cruise passengers = $9,250,000/yr
      I’ll take that…

      • True Lies says:

        It’s not nothing but barely makes a dent in the country’s debt. Besides, I highly doubt all 370,000 cruise passengers are going to stop coming because of a $10 increase in price.

    • Travel Indy says:

      Bermuda tourism is how the island survives, without the cruise boats coming in and yes spending money you would not have a job or money to survive. Figure it out.

    • Maria says:

      You are very wrong. We typically spend $500-$700 while in Bermuda each year. Add that up with the $4,000+ passengers on breakaway

  5. Rada Gast says:

    Can’t the cruise passengers just go into Hamilton and buy the multiday passes there?

    • They would have to buy a day pass for one ride first or take an expensive taxi ride in order to buy that multiday pass.

    • Cranberry says:

      While it was a bit of a disastrous move on behalf of whoever made the decision – however – we have ty o be realistic… over the two days it is only $7 bucks more…

      And while I’m the last person to support the taxis and minibuses – some of which are death traps – they should all see this as an opportunity to give their profession a shine and offer a fair deal to groups instead of the prices and gouging that we see at events here in Bermuda.

      Don’t forget that the masters of rape and pillage of travellers are the cruise companies themselves…

  6. Proud to be Bermudian says:

    This not right! exactly why our tourism is the way it is. We as locals don’t get a break, from the looks of things things neither does the tourists! This island is so unfair, trust me you all are going to lose tourists if you keep this up!!!!!!!!

  7. Bermy Realist says:

    Why don’t Govt just be honest and say that they don’t have the CAPACITY of the bus and ferry fleet to service the visitors or even the locals this summer! HONESTY is the BEST POLICY!!

    • Roger says:

      Might have a better shot at meeting capacity if things like what I saw on Sunday didn’t happen. A whole bus, the route marked as “sightseeing”, , headed toward town by Elbow Beach. Guess how many passengers. Go on, guess!

  8. Sara says:

    Again, are we really in the tourism business???

  9. mike says:

    This is nuts. Visitors are essentially held hostage to the taxi and mini-bus operator after the first day port. WTF. Nice going BTA.

    • Tourism Advocate says:

      This is not a BTA policy. It’s a Department of Transport policy — you know, the people who manage the buses and the ferries.

      • drunken ursula says:

        no ,the policy came down from, more likely, to bus and ferry bosses from the Mayor of Dockyard that Charlton man!

    • Ignorance says:

      BTA doesn’t even have the power to create and enforce policies…

      If you want to have an opinion at least direct your frustrations accordingly otherwise change will never come!

  10. David Colman says:

    If this policy holds, I see an amazing ‘business’ opportunity for some local Bermudian. All the person would need to do is buy books of non-expiring tickets (15 for #37.50), stand out by the ships, and sell the tickets for say $4 to $5 each.

    The tourist wins, the Bermudian businessperson wins, and Bermuda loses.

    Come on Bermuda. Give yourself a shake!!!

    • SMH! says:

      That would be illegal and you would be arrested!

      • Legalgal says:

        Not necessarily. And a great service to tourism too!

  11. Frank says:

    Why should visitors not have pay for transportation at Market price? It costs a lot of money to run the buses yes?Other islands its taxis and private licensed vans yes?

  12. reddamtibi says:

    I say strip away the fee altogether and let them explore the island for free. The money saved would be more likely spent at a local business somewhere…the government can get their share downstream via taxes on the business.

    • DTG says:

      The government can’t afford anymore losses, they can’t give transportation for free. and i don’t know of any country that gives transportation for free… You think 5.00 to take the ferry is expensive in Bermuda.. try 25.00 in Turks and Caicos………..

  13. Rhonnda Oliver says:

    Thought this was a horrible idea and would be seen as gouging by the tourists once they figured it out, so I’m not surprised by the complaints.

    This is where whoever decided this says ‘we made a mistake’ and goes back to the way it was.

  14. BOS2BDA says:

    Note to self:
    Step 1:setup booth in dockyard selling tokens and multi-day transportation passes.
    Step 2: make tourists happy by selling what they want
    Step 3: profit

  15. Not smart says:

    I’m just wondering after they cancel, what other islands would they go to that have bus passes period.

    • Full Fuulish says:

      Oh no bah- dont let d ole timers hear you askin tourists questions like dat der! Smh.
      I agree. My point would be that it seems as though we as Bermudians can never really ask these kinds of key questions of our visitors. In particular the ones who go on these online forums and slander Bermudas name! The old “you better be nice at all time’s to our tourists” has been ingrained from early on!

    • PBanks says:

      I think in most other places, it’s a moot point. Bermuda happens to have the cruise ship terminal at the same spot as the end/start of a major public bus route. Not the case in other places.

  16. Bermy Realist says:

    @ Not Smart….the answer is NONE! Most other Islands and Countries for that matter encourage the Tourists to use Private Transportation and not Local and mainly for safety reasons and it won’t be that cheaper either.

    • Legalgal says:

      And much cheaper! Or hire cars. Check out Cayman.

  17. anydeeng says:

    Tourism authority is full of people who arent a part of bda culture. How can you not be shortsighted if you dont have a bermudian executive for such important things.

  18. Ed Trott says:

    Two words – FIX IT!!!!!!!!

  19. 4ner says:

    Bermuda, collectively, needs to figure out that the sun does not shine out it’s backside

    The world can go elsewhere, for cheaper, and get a better experience

    Sort it out

  20. AteVanessoa says:

    Anyways nothing to do in Bermuda, shopping is better to do

  21. DTG says:

    I hope The transportation dept rethinks this situation,, you can’t force people to take taxi’s and mini buses if they don’t want too…… This is just going to make more tourists upset and give bad publicity to the Island.

    Please CHANGE this New Rule… It just doesnt make sense……….

  22. Frank Ocean says:

    I feel like if the ministry of transport would charge students 3-5 cents each per ride when it isn’t the school bus this wouldn’t be necessary.

  23. bigga2 says:

    What everyone is failing to understand is this policy has been put in place because the Bda Govt cannot afford to send 8 or 9 buses to Dockyard for the sole purpose of taking people to the beach. The cost is double time plus operating expenses and also impacts service to regular users. The vast majority of the visitors are using the passes and tokens just to go to the beach. They have to walk from the dock to the VIC to get the tokens, walk around the corner to get in line for the bus, get off and cross the street and then walk a third of a mile to the beach. Do you all really think that the govt service is better than the taxis and minibuses which for only a few dollars more will pick up the guests at the dock, take them down to the beach and reverse the process at the end of the day by taking them back to their ship? Best of all, we Bermudians will not have to pay extra taxes to pay for the 8 buses being used by the govt to provide their service. In my opinion, the govt has made a very wise decision.

  24. Davie Kerr says:

    Happy tourists are much more likely a) to spend more money, b) to come back, and c) to tell their friends what a great time they had and persuade them to visit too, so it would make sense to me if we were able to sell the tourists the passes they want, as opposed to the passes we think they should or should not have.

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