14ymedio, Juan Diego Rodríguez, Havana, 12 June 2023 – At least 300 private almendron* taxis queued up this Monday at the gas station El Futuro, on Calle 100 / Vento – in the Havana district of Rancho Boyeros. At this service centre, which from today will sell diesel only to private haulage firms, the police were directing the taxis in three at a time, in the order of their arrival.
Some of the drivers, who had actually run out of fuel while they were waiting, ended up having to push their cars in order to stay in the queue.
In a brief publicity announcement on its website the provincial government had warned that in order to be served it is necessary to have the correct operator’s licence.
The maximum allowed quantity of fuel per vehicle is 100 litres, and only in the vehicle’s tank – it’s not permitted to use a separate canister or other container. They explain that “people will be served in order of arrival, governed by a record that will be kept at the service centre”.
“It’s important to explain that one can still get fuel at the four other service centres created for the purpose and that this kind of activity will continue to be maintained in the province”, said the text, without specifying anything.
This measure coincides with the start of the new tariff for private taxis announced last week and which have caused discontent amongst drivers. According to one article published in Tribuna de La Habana, the prices charged will be obligatory between five in the morning until nine in the evening. Outside of these hours, say the authorities, “the tarriff will be by agreement between client and operator (supply and demand)”.
The official newspaper includes, with details, the different taxi routes and planned pricing. Short journeys are fixed at 45 pesos, medium ones are between 70 and 100, and the longest ones, such as from Guanabo Beach to Old Havana are capped at 170.
The man in the street and in various centres of work isn’t so much worried about the prices but rather the lack of available transport. A young vet said this Monday: “Whether a taxi costs me whatever it needs to, what does that even matter when the problem is that there aren’t any”. She had to pay 2,000 pesos for a 12 km journey.
*Translator’s note: Almendron borrows the Spanish word for ‘almond’ to refer to old American cars, derived from their ‘almond-shape.’
Translated by Ricardo Recluso
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