Due to lack of money to maintain them, only 50% of the means of transport in Cuba work

Due to lack of money to maintain them, only 50% of the means of transport in Cuba work

With the holidays just around the corner, the outlook for passenger transport is bleak on the Island. The most serious, due to its repercussions on mortality, is the insecurity of the roads. According to the Minister of Transport, Eduardo Rodriguez Davila40% present an unfavorable technical state.

The bad news from the sector did not catch anyone by surprise, despite the fact that the minister made an effort to show some achievements of the past year. Among them, the increase in the bus fleet in Havana, something that would not have been possible without the donation of the 104 that joined. 10 minibuses were also added, in this case thanks to the drop in tourism, which they served before. Other progress in 2022 was the increase in routes in the capital with 75 electric tricycles, the restoration of rail services and the MóvilWeb Urbanos application for transportation, among other things.

But the balance could not leave a good taste in the mouth, since Rodríguez Dávila began by admitting that there is a “decrease in passenger and cargo transportation capacities” and attributed the situation to objective and subjective factors.

The minister estimated the cost of keeping the fleet ready at 40 or 50 million dollars a year and, since there is no money, the availability of transportation is only 50%, “aggravated by the fuel situation on the island.” Although the traffic in the ports indicates that the oil is arriving, the needs are great and public transport does not seem to be exactly the priority. According to the minister, in some provinces only “opening and closing” trips are made due to a shortage that he attributed, among other reasons, to the “persecution” of the ships that transport it, alluding to the US embargo.

Rodríguez Dávila insisted that it is necessary for the sector to enter “freely convertible currency to guarantee fuel, spare parts and other logistical elements”

Rodríguez Dávila insisted that it is necessary for the sector to enter “freely convertible currency to guarantee fuel, spare parts and other logistical elements”, making the shadow of doubt hang for a moment as to whether it would charge transport in freely convertible currency ( MLC).

At the moment, at least, it doesn’t seem to be the solution. The minister denounced that the measure to prohibit cruises from the US, taken by the Donald Trump Administration and not reversed by the Biden Government, prevents sufficient foreign currency from being raised in the ports. Despite this, he explained that at the beginning of this year an exclusive MLC fund was created for the sector, which is formed “with income from abroad in the aviation and maritime-port systems.” With that money, he maintained, more than a thousand means of transportation were recovered, since it was invested in buses.

The minister indicated that transport has “acceptable prices for the population”, although the data from the consumer price index (CPI) indicate that it is one of the sectors that has risen the most in the last year, more than 18% year-on-year. last april. However, even if the cost is high for Cubans, the companies are in deficit or, in the words of Rodríguez Dávila, “they are below the profitability threshold of the companies” and many of them “report losses.”

“Major transportation bases across the country have been running with virtually no spare parts for the past three years,” he added.

The official also spoke of the railway, which is very deficient as far as passenger transport is concerned, although “prioritized” cargo has been able to be moved whenever conditions have allowed it. With this he refers to the almost 600,000 tons of fuel, sugar and products corresponding to the basic basket that move along the railways.

On the other hand, the transport of port cargo has been reduced by 44% since 2018, but new means have been incorporated to improve it, including small ships with a capacity of 2,800 tons.

Among the positive points, valued by the minister, is the theoretical improvement of parcel delivery services, the legalization of new means of transport, such as electric tricycles that serve short routes between cities, and the creation of a public bicycles.

“We are going to continue with this program,” he said, while threatening “more energetic measures against drivers and bosses who fail to comply with the support that state vehicles must give to passenger transportation.”

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