HAVANA (Reuters) – 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 its more than 6,000 private taxis, many of them vintage U.S. cars, in particular those offering shared services on fixed routes.
Government - July - Series - Regulations - Sector
However, the Communist government published in July a series of new, tighter regulations on the private sector that included rules for taxis that would progressively go into effect across Cuba, starting in Havana from October.
Those rules oblige drivers, for example, to purchase a minimum amount of fuel from state gas stations with huge mark-ups in order to curb the black market for fuel amid a decline in oil supplies from ally Venezuela. They also fix prices for the set, shared routes.
Drivers - Havana - Rules - Living - Licenses
Some drivers in Havana have said the new rules are so stifling that they prevent them from making a living, so they would rather give up their licenses to operate as taxis.
The Vice Minister for Transport Marta Oramas said on a broadcast roundtable discussion on Thursday evening that around 800 drivers had handed in their licenses so far.
“The measures are really severe and...
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