Where Are the Buses?

Public transport in Havana is inadequate and inflation has made private commuting options unaffordable. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Juan Diego Rodriguez, Havana, 11 November 11, 2021 — It is 2:30 on Wednesday afternoon and a long line of people is waiting to board one of the buses, the P11 or P18, that stop here on Monte Street. Few buses pass by and those that stop fill up quickly.

“I’ve been waiting here for an hour and a half and still haven’t been able to get on,” complains one woman in line. “There are too many people on the street and not enough buses. It must be because of the embargo.”

“The buses will show up on November 15 to carry protesters.* That’s what they’re saving them for,” adds another passenger in the same ironic tone.

At Curita Park another group is waiting next to the taxi stand used by almendrones, as vintage 1950s cars — often used as taxis — are known here, to catch the P7 to Cotorro.

“I won’t be taking a car today. I don’t make enough money. I’m waiting for the bus, no matter how long it takes,” complains a young man in the crowd. “Public transport gets worse every day. Yesterday, I was late for work.”

At the stop next to the emergency hospital on Carlos III Avenue, many people are waiting for the P12 to take them to Santiago de las Vegas. Some are there after  having giving up on the Russian-made Gacela minibus at 27th and O streets, which was already full.

References to the long waits can also be found on social media. Yesterday morning, one Cuban left a post on Facebook: “When they give their hearts to Cuba, let’s see if they give us a little more public transportation too.”

*Translator’s note: A nationwide protest march, organized by a dissident group called Archipelago, is planned for that day.


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