A Day Without Private Taxis / 14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez
14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 10 February 2017 — Without posters,
lists of demands or protest demonstrations, Havana’s private taxi
drivers are responding to the recently imposed fare caps. The
authorities made a bold move, adjusting their previous fare caps – which
the drivers got around by breaking their journeys into pieces and
charging separately for each piece – to specifically apply the price
controls to newly defined portions of a single trip. In response, the
self-employed taxi drivers have offered a Friday from hell for Havanans
trying to travel around the city.
At the edge of the sidewalk, desperately waving their arms, were
hundreds of people this morning along the routes of the “almendrones” –
as these shared taxis are called, in reference to the “almond-shape” of
the old American cars called into service to run them. But the drivers
rarely stopped on the grounds that they would only make “direct trips”
between the first and last points of the journey. In this way they avoid
fragmenting the payments and lowering the costs of the travel, in
accordance with the new regulations.
Lacking a union to represent their demands, the drivers are trying to
force the government to withdraw the pricing measure, by ensuring
congestion in urban transportation. For its part, the government knows
that a good share of the city’s residents need these shared taxis to get
to their workplaces or schools. Without them, the country will be paralyzed.
As of yesterday, a silent pulse is developing in the streets, where
right now the worst affected are the passengers.
Source: A Day Without Private Taxis / 14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez –
Translating Cuba –