Cuba asks drivers of state cars to carry passengers in the face of transportation crisis

Cuban authorities this week called on people who own company cars or government entities to bring passengers waiting at bus stops for free, in order to alleviate the public transport crisis the island is facing due to shortages of fuel and spare parts.

Betty Pairol, a Cuban military, published a few days ago on her Facebook account a photograph with a companion sitting in the back seat of a car driven by Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez.

I was at a traffic light asking for a ride or "making bottle"as the Cubans say, "and a car stopped us with the green light and made a sign for us to get on. To our surprise, it was Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla"the woman said in the post.

The Prime Minister, Manuel Marrero Cruz, recognized on Thursday the difficult situation in the country, which since 2022 has been facing fuel supply problems, especially for public transport vehicles that use diesel.

"In the midst of the complex situation that our country is experiencing, the use of state transport in support of passenger transportation is essential."said the official on his Twitter account.

Marrero Cruz asked the Ministry of Transportation to correctly apply the provision, in force in Cuba for decades but currently in disuse.

If you don’t stop, "the violation will be considered a serious indiscipline"warned Marrero.

Marcela Martínez, a 40-year-old tourism worker, believes that this measure "should have left a while ago".

"There is no inspector here. For this to work there has to be an inspector because out of conscience" the state workers are not going to stop, he told AFP at a bus stop on an important avenue in Central Havana.

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"Public transport is quite bad, not bad, lousy"finished off.

According to official figures on the island, of 11.2 million inhabitants, some 600,000 cars circulate, of which a good part is state-owned.

In March, when there was a severe fuel shortage, the Cuba-Petróleo Union (Cupet) attributed it to the increased supply of electricity generation equipment, which are large consumers of diesel, to replace breakdowns in power plants.

In the midst of the worst economic crisis in three decades, public transport has become an ordeal due to the fact that close to 50% of the buses are out of operation. "for lack of tires and batteries"an official from the Ministry of Transport told AFP in 2022.

Havanans sometimes wait hours to board a bus trying to get to their educational centers or their jobs.

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