Cuba Privatizes State Taxi Services

HAVANA TIMES — This year the Cuban government hopes to convert the drivers of twenty state taxi agencies into self-employed taxi drivers, reports dpa news on Wednesday.

The reform, published in the official Granma daily provides that state agencies throughout the island lease their vehicles to drivers who will no longer on the state payroll and will operate as “self-employed.”

The measure will be implemented “gradually” throughout 2014, said Granma. With this, the authorities aim to overcome problems including shortcomings in the state taxi services, corruption and overstaffing, the report said .

In principle, the plan involves the privatization of services provided in convertible pesos (CUC), the hard currency of the island, widely used in the tourism sector. The drivers will now rent vehicles from the state and pay taxes.

“Under this system, the drivers assume, with their income, maintenance and fuel costs and part of the vehicle repairs, while they may take passengers where they deem convenient, paying taxes depending on their income,” explained Granma.

The newspaper did not specify if the state will maintain a percentage of the state sector taxis operating as it did before.

According to Granma, the country will continue providing certain services in regular Cuban pesos (CUP), for example at hospitals. The CUP is the official currency in which state salaries and pensions are paid.

In addition to the state taxi services on the island many “self-employed” provide service with private cars, usually old US-made vehicles from the 1940s and 50s, also in CUP.

6 thoughts on “Cuba Privatizes State Taxi Services

  • Many taxi drivers will rob or cheat you and the cuban police will not even write out a report. They need to bring in an out side private secter from canada to clean up there taxis

  • Complaints, complaints, now they are entrepreneurs responsible for the costs of production…..if they left the system the way it is exiles would complain, if they change it they complain….wow!

  • Hahaha! Uhhh, I knew that. No more reading HT and driving in SF traffic at the same time.

  • @mosespatterson:disqus
    read more carefully. Twenty agencies, not twenty cars.

  • Cubans call the yellow State taxis in Havana “555” because those are the first three digits of the telephone number to call for a taxi to pick you up. This is one of those reforms that changes nothing. Taxistas who drove State taxis were often working for themselves. They just didn’t turn on the meter and negotiated the tariff up front. BTW, why only twenty taxis?

  • So the drivers are supposed to pay for fuel, maintenance and taxes, and do all the work of driving. What exactly does the government do? Oh right, the government “owns” the car. The driver who pays for everything will never be allowed to own the car.

    Wait a minute… Didn’t somebody somewhere write something about the worker’s control of the means of production?

    Never mind, that doesn’t apply here. In Cuba, the government owns everything while the workers pay for it.

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