Exodus of Drivers Leaves 700,000 Havanans Without Transport

Public transport is a sensitive issue in Cuba, especially in Havana. (14ymedio)

14ymedio biggerEFE, 14ymedio, Havana, 14 March 2018 — The exodus of drivers who work in public transport “seriously affects mobility” in Havana, where each day 700,000 fewer passengers are transported, which translates into a deficit of 600,000 Cuban pesos (about $24,000), according to a report from directors of the state-owned Provincial Transport Company (EPTH) issued on Wednesday.

Currently the capital is short 86 bus drivers, resulting in 500 missed trips a day, on average, according to Juan Julián Caballero, General Director of Transportation in the city, speaking to the local press.

The “unprecedented departure” of these qualified professionals is due to the fact that they receive “more tempting offers of salary and schedules in other work centers,” together with the increase in demands and inspections, Caballero acknowledged.

Despite the responsibility and specialization required of drivers of public transport, mostly composed of large articulated buses, the basic salary of these drivers often does not exceed about $29 per month which is the average in the country .

In addition, they are required to meet quota of revenue per trip to obtain a bonus at the end of the month.

The terminals most affected by this “migration” are those located in the outlying neighborhoods of Alamar, San Agustín, Guanabacoa and Diezmero, according to a report published in the state newspaper Juventud Rebelde on Wednesday.

To alleviate this problem, the general director of the Provincial Transport Company of Havana announced that in the coming weeks a contingent of drivers from other regions of the country will arrive in the Cuban capital.

He also insisted that they keep open the call for all those who have the qualification and wish to enter this line of work.

Caballero stressed that despite the “economic limitations of the country, investments are maintained for the repair and restoration of buses and terminals.”

According to official data, more than one million passengers travel on public transport in Havana, where a one-way trip costs 40 cents CUP (Cuban peso; less than five cents US).

Public transport is a sensitive issue in Cuba, especially in Havana, where more than 2.5 of the more than 11 million inhabitants of the Caribbean country live.

On the island it is not usual for each family to own a car, so hundreds of thousands of people depend exclusively on state buses and private services, the latter of which are much more expensive due in part to high fuel prices and the high sums that the self-employed who rent cars must pay the Government.


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