Cuba im­ports new taxi buses

The Citizen (KZN) - - WORLD - Ha­vana

– Cuba’s gov­ern­ment said on Thurs­day it was im­port­ing hun­dreds of mi­crobuses and buses to al­le­vi­ate a grow­ing trans­port short­age in Ha­vana due to its clam­p­down on pri­vate sec­tor taxis.

Given a chron­i­cally de­fi­cient pub­lic trans­port sys­tem, Cubans in the cap­i­tal have for decades re­lied on more than 6 000 pri­vate taxis, many vin­tage US cars.

The gov­ern­ment’s new, tighter reg­u­la­tions on the pri­vate sec­tor that came into ef­fect yes­ter­day in­cluded rules for taxis. Some driv­ers in Ha­vana said the new rules were so sti­fling that they could not make a liv­ing and would rather give up their li­cences to op­er­ate as taxis.

Vice Min­is­ter for Trans­port Marta Ora­mas said 800 driv­ers had handed in their li­cences. The new rules also in­clude a tech­ni­cal re­vi­sion that Ha­vana’s “rolling mu­seum”, in­clud­ing Chevro­lets, Ply­mouths and Fords from the ’50s, are strug­gling to pass. Ora­mas said 2 167 li­cences had been can­celled so far as a re­sult. Trans­port Min­is­ter Adel Yzquierdo said 400 new mi­crobuses would ar­rive in Jan­uary.

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