“…Algo anda mal, mal anda algo” (Something’s Going Wrong) was the song by Los Aldeanos that was screeching in my right ear, thanks to some man who was enjoying his iPod on the bus. Between the heat, the people jammed on top of each other, and the music they forced me to listen to, the trip to the Vedado neighborhood was unbearable. I was about to get off and wait for another bus… but…what if another one never showed up?
The Alamar community is the barometer for measuring the state of transportation in the capital. Alarm signals are triggered there every day: people thrown off buses in the middle of the street, vehicles packed with riders, drivers who don’t respect the established stops (forcing people to run to get on), schedules routinely violated…
Then, sometimes, in what would destabilize anyone, I go out and the transportation is phenomenal, as if nothing had ever happened.
I live in Alamar in front of the bus terminal, the end of the line. From there I can see how the bus system is slowly gridlocking. The routes that were established several months ago no longer respond to the needs of the public, and we’re all concerned.
Could it be that we’re returning to the stress-filled situation of the 1990s? It’s likely that we are. Officially, no one speaks about the real situation. “There are problems” is the phrase that is more than well known, but the truth is that we’re entering a crisis of urban transportation.
Every day some bus breaks down and people have to walk under the blazing tropical sun to another stop where they might hope to catch another bus (whenever one might come) or trudge all the way to their destination.
The strange thing is not that the buses break down; what’s incomprehensible is that whoever it was that bought the buses didn’t remember to ensure the supply of spare parts for when their need arrived.
Fortunately I live on the fifth floor. I have the privilege of seeing everything from up high: the buses (leaving and entering, or parked) and also the scarlet-red “flame trees” flourishing at the entrance of the terminal. For the time being at least, I have that relief.