Cuba reinforces public transport as it clamps down on private taxis

Last Updated: Dec 07 2018 10:42

HAVANA: Hundreds of microbuses and buses to alleviate a growing transport shortage in Havana due to its clampdown on private sector taxis, Cuba’s government said on Thursday.

Cubans in the capital have for decades relied on its more than 6,000 private taxis, many of them vintage U.S. cars, in particular, those offering shared services on fixed routes.

The Communist government published in July a series of new, tighter regulations on the private sector that included rules for taxis that would progressively go into effect across Cuba, starting in Havana from October.

The Vice Minister for Transport Marta Oramas said on a broadcast roundtable discussion on Thursday evening that around 800 drivers had handed in their licenses so far.

“The measures are really severe and every day there is more pressure in the streets with inspectors and police,” driver Julio Garcia told Reuters earlier this week.

He added, “I’m going to hand in my license.”

The new rules also include a technical revision that Havana’s “rolling museum”, including Chevrolets, Plymouths, and Fords from the 1950s, are struggling to pass, Oramas said, and that 2,167 licenses had been canceled so far as a result.

Transport Minister Adel Yzquierdo said, “good news for our Havana is that at the end of December and start of January 400 new microbuses that the state has acquired abroad will be arriving."

He added, The Caribbean island would also soon receive 90 new buses.