License for private taxi drivers in Cuba changes, experiment comes to an end

The new Prices of Private Taxis Complicate Transport in Havana

HAVANA, Nov. 8th Private taxi drivers will no longer have to choose between providing their services on a certain route, or freely, with the joining of these two modalities into a single type of license, called “regular.”

As part of the changes in the regulations of the Transportation Operation License announced this Wednesday by the island’s authorities, private passenger transportation workers who apply for this modality will be able to have access to fuel at “preferential prices,” the daily Granma reported.

“The regular mode is the passenger or cargo transportation to a destination in an authorized route that charges for that transportation, taking into account the limit of the maximum prices established by the Administration Councils, and can provide a home pick-up service (at the request of the user) and cannot provide high comfort or classic service,” said Cuban First Deputy Minister of Transportation Marta Oramas.

With the new name of the license the distinction between “route taxis” and “free taxis” ends, which was part of an experiment implemented in Havana since 2018, and which set preferential prices for route taxi drivers.

As of the change, fuel prices in Cuban pesos (CUP) for carriers with the regular taxi license are set at 8.00 pesos per liter of regular diesel, and motor gasoline, called b 83. For its part, users of regular b 90 gasoline can buy it at 10.00 pesos per liter, and special gasoline type b 94, at 15.00.

The decrease in fuel costs for these taxi drivers “implies greater benefit for the population, so they can receive a service with an acceptable price,” said Oramas, quoted by Granma.

According to the deputy minister, with this measure they intend to “totally eliminate in the country the supply and demand price in basic services, provided by these private transportation workers (understand the services provided on the main routes, from the terminals, the stations and boarding points).”

The municipal and provincial governments will be responsible for overseeing the maximum prices of the taxi service for private transportation workers.

According to the new provisions, which will take effect on January 5, self-employed workers who have the Transportation Operation License in the modalities that are now unified will be able to make the change at no additional cost.

The “indispensable” requirements for obtaining or updating this license are: to be the holder of a fiscal bank account to carry out the collection and payment transactions, and to have signed a contract with the state financial company Fincimex S.A. for the purchase of the fuel using a debit card as a means of payment.

In the case of licenses for the nationwide transportation of passengers in trucks, vans, and buses, it is required that the means of transportation have windows or air conditioning, seats fixed to the floor, sufficient lighting and a warning system between the lounge and the driver’s cabin.

Individuals don’t necessarily have to own a vehicle to apply for a license. According to the regulations, these services can be provided using a means of transportation owned by a spouse, or a relative with whom you have up to the second degree of consanguinity (parents, children, brothers, grandchildren, grandparents), or first degree of affinity (in-laws, daughters-in-law, and sons-in-law). Those who request the license in that situation must demonstrate the degree of consanguinity with the owner and his/her authorization.