Vicissitudes in Cuba’s urban transport

By Daisy Valera

After major improvement Havana’s transport has taken a new downturn. Photo: Caridad

These new buses were acquired to help solve one of the problems that most troubled residents in the Cuban capital: poor transportation, which also seriously contributed to tardiness at work.

What many called the “transportation revolution,” succeeded in easing the stress created in having to get up every day and battle to get to work.

The difference was considerably noticeable: before you had to wait about an hour for a bus, and it became only fifteen minutes.

We learned that these new means of transport were acquired from China. At some point the TV news reported the price of the buses and everyone was content, satisfied and hoping that the transportation situation would continue to improve.

However, today the situation is beginning go down a different route. Lines are starting to get longer at stops, buses have begun to come only every half hour, and on many occasions they’re so full that the drivers decide not to stop.

This setback in transportation has still not been acknowledged officially; the only information is that Cuba too is being affected by the world economic crisis.

As a result of this, people on the streets have begun to speculate about the coming of a new “Special Period,” with the characteristic shortages of everything.

We live in a socialist country, with a planned economy, which makes us different from the economies of the capitalist countries that are presently suffering from economic crisis.

Therefore there is no logical reason to allow fear and insecurity to grow among the public.

An easy solution would be to explain the current situation of the Cuban economy in detail to people – neighborhood by neighborhood – informing them of the possible difficulties that they may have to face.

This way, in addition to being informed, we would be able to suggest ideas to solve the problems that we must confront as one.

The government of a socialist country has the obligation to listen to the working people.

Instead of concocting accounts about why there are not buses, we would be able to know the true reasons for the transportation difficulties and, accordingly, look for ways to solve the problem that has already raised its ugly head.