Transportation: another extreme Cuban sport

Transportation: another extreme Cuban sport

HAVANA.,Jan. 6  Transportation in Cuba moves on a high-tension rope. Every morning the stops are packed with people trying to “capture”
a bus to travel to work, study centers or simply to get to a medical appointment at a hospital.

Young people, old people, students. From early on everyone tries to complete the day ahead but moving is at least a high-risk sport.

The image is very similar to those photographs from the so-called Special Period. People “hooked” on bus doors, or hit each other to get on without the slightest respect for others. It is the law of the strongest.

In that fight, the most vulnerable person is always defeated, the elderly, a woman with her children, or anyone who suffers from an illness that prevents them from correctly entering the field of that pitched battle on equal terms.

Added to the above is the long time spent at the stops. The buses can take hours to pass the scheduled point while people wait as if they had the entire day available to wait. Otherwise, they would have to take an almendrón or a private taxi service.

The latter, by the way, is another high-tension sport due to the payment they demand from clients. As the button shows: a trip of a few kilometers from Vedado to Centro Habana or Old Havana can easily cost around 1,000 pesos.

That does happen before nightfall. At late hours the cost can double and people are forced to pay it (those who can, of course) to be able to return to their homes without taking any more risks amid the wave of violence that has been unleashed on the island.

Fear, we know, is in the streets. Unlike other years, many people try not to go out at night, precisely because they anticipate that the return by public transport will be an odyssey, which also implies spending long hours at stops at the risk of being assaulted simply to snatch a cell phone or something. another valuable object.

The situation is quite critical. The worst thing perhaps is that there is no solution in sight. It even seems that it could be worse given the announcement of the increase in the cost of bus fares, a measure that has also been the butt of jokes among Cubans who wonder how the cost of fare for “ghost” buses is going to increase.

2024 will have the last word. Let’s hope that at least the situation with transportation improves and people can travel with less difficulty to their destinations so that the image at the stops is different. However, to tell the truth, the omens for this year, leap year and perhaps sinister, do not present the best cards.