We Cubans complain a lot about the difficulties of getting around, especially those of us who live in the capital.
It is not without good reason that the problem of transportation heads the list of our most pressing challenges, along with those of food and shelter.
Every morning workers in Havana have to run to catch a bus and then remain crammed inside for seemingly endless periods of time.
Solutions occur to everyone about how to improve this precarious situation, the most common being to increase the number of city buses as well as the allocation of diesel and gasoline.
But since people’s hopes for an increase in the number of buses is unlikely to be realized soon, it’s necessary to think of a solution that’s a bit more immediate.
The idea I have is to generalize the system used at the bus stop in front of the Naval Hospital in the municipality of East Havana.
On several occasions I’ve witnessed how a transportation employee tries to stop cars that have blue or brown license plates to make them give rides to people trying to get to other places in the capital.
These plates indicate cars that have been assigned to state entities or to the heads of agencies and companies.
I’ve only noticed this operation taking place early in the morning, which is one of the times most critical for transportation.
Although the effort is important, it would be better if the cars with government plates were made to stop instead of continuing on their way, like many of them do.
When the cars don’t stop, the employee simply writes down the license plate number, I imagine so that she can report their remiss behavior.
On one occasion I had the opportunity to get into the car of an executive of MINBAS (the Ministry of the Basic Industry), where I was able to confirm my theory as to why these state-owned vehicles fail to stop to pick up many workers.
Unfortunately the drivers of these cars believe themselves to be the owners, while viewing those who need a ride as intruders. Adding insult to injury, these drivers have no reservations whatsoever about displaying their disgust in their faces.
But the sole truth is that those government-owned cars and fuel are bought with money generated through the labor of many Cubans. These then belong to all of us and not just to the ones sitting in the driver’s seats.
Therefore, an appropriate form of addressing the transportation problem would be for the majority of the cars bought with the state budget — and not just rare exceptions — help at each bus stop with the transportation of passengers.