Three Weeks After Arriving in Cuba, Japanese Buses Roll in Havana

With a frequency of 25 minutes between the arrival of one vehicle and another, the A65 route arrived this Saturday at the Parque de la Fraternidad. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Juan Diego Rodríguez, Havana, 5 February 2022 — Expectations were rising but the Japanese buses did not appear until this weekend when they could be seen on the streets of Havana. The buses donated by Japan arrived on the island on January 13 and despite the optimistic headlines in the official press, they are only now picking up passengers in the Cuban capital.

With a frequency of 25 minutes between the arrival of one vehicle and another, the A65 route arrived this Saturday at the Parque de la Fraternidad, where a long line of people eager to travel were waiting for it. With their impeccable blue bodywork, the lighted signs fully working and the smell of new still inside, the Japanese buses caused a sensation.

“They are good but I don’t know how long they are going to last here,” explained the driver of one of these buses to a passenger who inquired about the novelty. “When too many passengers get on board, they beep because they have a safety mechanism for that,” the driver spoke. “You have to be careful also because they lean to the sides.”

“They have GPS and they are brand new but they are made for places where there are not so many people trying to get on,” he adds. “If the bus is very full, it becomes unstable when it turns and parks,” explains the driver. “They are too Japanese, we will have to see how they will be in a few days. For now, we have to enjoy them.”

The buses have begun to roll through the streets more than a week after January 28, coinciding with the birthday of José Martí, when the official press published an inaugural act of the long-awaited buses with the title Urban buses donated by Japan are ready.  At the event were Hirata Kenji, Japanese ambassador to the island, and the governor of Havana, Reinaldo García Zapata, who presided over the formal delivery of the Isuzu buses on the Tarará esplanade.

“They are Japanese, with that I tell you everything,” says an employee of a terminal where the new buses start to arrive every afternoon after covering their route. “It’s like the difference between sushi and claria mortadella, these buses are designed to travel through streets without potholes, arrive at the stops and have disciplined people get on. Even something as minor as the issue of ventilation is already a problem because it windows that open are small.”

“May Naruhito catch us confessed, but this is the beginning and we already know what the end will be,” he adds.


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