Transport in Cuba
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August 2016
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Treating the Symptoms, Not the Cause

Treating the Symptoms, Not the Cause / Rebeca Monzo

Rebeca Monzo, 4 August 2016 — Private transport has been making a
comeback in our country. With an enormous stable of almendrones (old
American cars), it has been steadily growing over the last thirty years
due in essence to the deteriorating and ever diminishing state-run
public transport system.

During all these years of totalitarian dictatorship, the number of buses
in every province of the country has been decreasing due to poor
maintenance and a shortage of spare parts, not to mention bad roads.

Additionally, given their extremely low wages, many transport workers
and public-sector employees have turned to fixing and restoring American
automobiles from the 1940s and 1950s, as they previously did with
Soviet-built Ladas, as a means of providing economic support their
families. Even many medical professionals ferry passengers around in
their old cars in their spare time because the salaries they receive
barely cover the costs of their most basic needs.

So why this new persecution of self-employed taxi drivers if they are
the ones who are finally alleviating the critical transportation
problem, one the state has not been able to resolve in fifty-seven
years? After all, no one is putting a gun to their customer’s heads and
forcing them to pay the going rate.

If the government — instead of spending so much money on political
propagandizing and overseas proselytizing — had invested those resources
on improving public transport, bringing down fuel and gasoline costs and
lowering the exorbitant prices for spare parts, these taxi drivers would
have been able to reduce their fares. It all comes down to supply and
demand. So why not put an end to all this harassment by addressing the
cause and not the symptoms of this social disaster?

Source: Treating the Symptoms, Not the Cause / Rebeca Monzo –
Translating Cuba –

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