New Round in War Between Cuban Gov. and Private Collective Taxis

Havana to boost bus service after restrictions create taxi shortage

Old cars used as collective taxis in Havana.  Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES – Cuba will boost public transport in Havana with 490 buses after stricter regulations for private taxis led to a transport shortage, local media reported on Friday, reported dpa news.

The new rules include stricter technical controls, set routes and fixed prices for taxis. Such measures have been made numerous times in the past, but to unsuccessful results, only worsening the deficient transport situation.

The authorities have also started controlling their fuel consumption after it was suddenly “discovered” that many taxi drivers did not buy their fuel from petrol stations, but from drivers of state vehicles who were stealing fuel allotted to them. It’s no secret in the trade and on the street that this practice has been going on for decades.

The stricter technical requirements led to 2,167 taxi licenses being cancelled in the Cuban capital, putting the owners out of business.

Other taxi drivers have voluntarily given up the licenses, saying the new rules made it impossible for them to make a living.

Ninety new regular size buses and 400 smaller, 12-seat minibuses will be added to Havana’s 700-strong fleet in January, the website Cubadebate quoted Transport Minister Adel Yzquierdo as saying.

Buses and taxis transport more than 1 million Havana residents daily, which amounts to half of the city’s population.

Public transport users in the capital note that such announcements of added buses usually mean some months of improvement in certain areas of the capital, and then things go back to how they were, or even worse, after the many breakdowns from excessive passengers and/or a lack of maintenance. Off and on fuel shortages also keep many already existing buses from being used at route capacity.

6 thoughts on “New Round in War Between Cuban Gov. and Private Collective Taxis

  • Cuba is a very expensive to run a private truck. Parts cost two 3 times what they should cost. Black market fuel is same price as legal fuel in the U.S. I agree the fares are too high compared to wages in Cuba. We supported 3 private transport s in Cuba with out our help they could not make a wage to the drivers after expenses running legal.

  • Free enterprise !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not to invest to fix the cars to transport people. The cars would be dangerous to drive on the road without money to keep them running no.

  • Tell me ‘Cubalife’, how much did the State-owned Cuba Taxis charge for the same distance? In my personal experience, a taxi particular costs far less than a State owned (actually military owned through GAESA) taxi. Standard rate for the trip from Jose Marti Airport to central Havana (Mirimar, Vedado, Siboney, Habana Vieja) is 25 CUC. which equates with an identical charge for a taxi-particular to travel the 90 km from La Lisa to Candelaria. So who has “overcharged the people of Cuba”?
    If you really know what you are talking about, how is it that a multi-passenger taxi-particular travelling 65km charges 30 pesos per passenger (1.25 CUC) ? How much does a State (GAESA) owned public bus charge?
    If the “private taxis stole fuel for years” they did so in conjunction with State employees selling it to them! As you well know, the mercado negra is dependent upon theft from the State (GAESA) businesses. This has been commonplace for many years and is a key part of the Cuban economy. On July 7, 2013, Raul Castro said:

    “Thus part of society has come to see theft from the state as normal. There has been propagation of illegal constructions with relative impunity moreover in inappropriate sites, non-authorized occupation of housing, illicit marketing of goods and services, non-fulfillment of working hours, illegal cattle rustling and slaughter, capture of marine species in danger of extinction utilization of the art of fishing, felling of forestry resources including in Havana’s magnificent Botanical Gardens, the hoarding of products in short supply and of bribes and their resale at higher prices, participation in games outside the law, price violations, the acceptance of bribes and privileges, preying on tourism and infraction of established regulations related to informatics security.”

    Just think ‘Cubalife’ it was over five years ago that Raul outlined the reality of the success of the revolution and its social effects. Even you will not argue that Raul’s succinct summary was inaccurate. So what has changed? The Cuban people endeavor to exist under communist repression and on an average income of $21 US per MONTH!

  • The private taxi’s stole fuel for years and over charged the people of Cuba.

  • The government had to step in because the private taxi’s were delibertly cousing a shortage on some routes to over charge stranded travers, sometimes $2 cuc one way.

  • The Castro communist regime is incapable of forming regulations which consider the interests of the public rather than further establishing the regime’s grip upon everyday life, or operating efficient public services. So now they force taxi particulars (no doubt including the converted trucks) off the street in order to increase the number of citizens compelled to use regime owned transport whether it be CubaTaxi, or the overloaded buses. No doubt the additional 90 buses and 400 mini-buses (12 seats probably means not more than 25 passengers) were obtained on credit from China, further increasing Cuba’s already massive debt. For those of us who use those converted trucks (taxi particular) to travel from other communities to La Lisa in Havana, we need taxi particular to get from La Lisa to more central parts of the City – Vedado, Mirimar, Centro and Habana Vieja, the lack of taxi particular will create a serious difficulty. But does the regime care? Not a fig!

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