A “New” Havana Bus Alternative

Osmel Almaguer

The “new” old buses that are making a difference this summer.

HAVANA TIMES — An intelligent initiative has begun to bear fruit for the ill-treated bus passenger from the Alamar neighborhood. This involves a bus route, formerly known as the cuarentiñas (“forty little ones,” because the fare used to be forty centavos, or about two cents USD).

As of a few weeks ago these have been providing transportation services between the center city Capitolio Building and the outlying Alamar community.

These cost only a peso (about five cents USD), and though they’re extremely slow — owing to many years of use — but when they’re operating they come by so frequently that they rarely allow many people to accumulate at the Capitolio bus stop.

Although I haven’t seen them every day, I know that they operate during rush hour, when hundreds of workers typically wander about positioning themselves and then run after buses in order to get home.

Some people have criticized these buses. And it’s true, they are “very old” and they do “take a long time to get where they’re going.” But there will always be people who criticize everything. Notwithstanding, I’m personally grateful, and I know that many people feel the same as me.

These buses were brought in from the town of Batabano, from the south coast province of Mayabeque, formerly known as “Rural Havana.”

For the time being, they’ve succeeded at getting the exorbitant prices of the old 1950s taxis to come down a little. Let’s pray that they keep them here until past summer, the period for which they were planned to be in operation.

At least by them we can see if the situation with the country’s transportation system improves.

Solutions like these are possible and very much necessary in the times we face today. This is a prime example of us not only doing what we can with what we got, but also one of us doing what we’ve been failing to do up until now.