Cuba’s Cabs Are Not Wheelchair Friendly

Mercedes Gonzalez Aguade

mercedesHAVANA TIMES — I have a friend who reproaches me for using public transportation to get around, because of how hard it is to get the wheelchair inside the bus. One day, when we went to the theater together, I had a chance to explain to her why I do it.

Wanting to get there early, after we had put on our makeup, we decided to catch a collective cab (boteros, they are called here). After sticking out our hands for a long time without getting any of them to stop, I turned to my disconcerted friend and explained the following: “It’s very simple. They don’t want to waste time and go to the trouble of getting off the cab and putting the wheelchair in the trunk.”

A cab pulled up next to us but, on seeing the situation, sped up and drove off. My friend insulted the driver “kindly.” The man replied: “Buy yourself a car.”

Buses are almost always full and are very uncomfortable, but they’re the only option I have to move about in the city. The home pick up service is only for hospitals and hard-currency cabs have very helpful drivers but are too expensive for my blood.

After hearing my explanation and waiting for a kind-hearted or money-hungry driver to pull up, my friend became convinced it was pointless and we headed for the bus stop. Luckily, the bus was almost empty and we were able to get to the theater in time.

Mercedes González

Mercedes González Amade: I'm 38 years old and physically challenged. I struggle daily in this life be it on crutches or in a wheelchair. I have a 12-year-old son who is my main inspiration and for who I have fought tooth and nail. I hold a position in the governmental institution that serves the handicapped in my part of the capital. In the afternoons I practice tennis well away from where I live. My intention with Havana Times is to help spread the desire to live and to do so with dignity, especially to persons with physical and motor difficulties.



2 thoughts on “Cuba’s Cabs Are Not Wheelchair Friendly

  • In the United Kingdom a taxi company refusing to transport a wheelchair user could be prosecuted and fined thousands of pounds in compensation. Why not in Cuba where everyone is supposed to be equal?

    Reply
    • The revolution was good at…..well, revolution. The development and construction of a civil society? …not so much. The development of laws, infrastructure and technology that occurred over the last 50 years, which allows us comforts we take for granted, more or less skipped Cuba. Another gift bestowed on the Cuban people by the revolution.

      Reply

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