Urban transport and other fabrics

While these lines are being written it is almost premiere in 2019 and new ones emerge in sight, and even some old, fabrics through which to cut journalistic skeins. Therefore, more as a horizon to come than as a summary, we will dedicate this section to going through some of the situations that haunt us.
Transportation in the capital is once again shrouded in a whirlwind of plans, ties, improvements and failures. Since 8 October 2018, a gradual process of reordering and experimentation of new forms of operation in this area began, the first stage of which must be completed on 15 January 2019. The purpose of this work, as stated by the highest officials in the field in television appearance, is to offer a better service to the people, with more quality and safety. By the way, let’s make a brief parenthesis about the Round table, the space where these managers appeared. In the final days of the year we could see that several ministers were interviewed and provided various information on the management, perspectives and results of their institutions. Later in these lines we will return on this topic.
This program, in its broadcast on December 6, was attended by Adel Yzquierdo Rodríguez, Minister of Transport, as well as Deputy Minister Marta Oramas Rivero and José Conesa González, Director General of the Transport Directorate in the capital. From the various explanations they offered, we’ll tap some data in tight summary and make a couple of comments. The main support and provision of transport services remains in charge of the State and all associated forms of accountpropriation are considered complements to this main axis, as expressed by the managers. It follows that it is a state obligation to ensure the efficient operation, maintenance, safety, supply of tyres, parts and fuels from most buses, whether urban, rural or interprovincial routes. It is also the government’s responsibility for all lines of rail, area and maritime transport, both cargo and passenger transport.
From the long list of new regulations and provisions we just want to highlight some already visible consequences. According to Oramas Rivero, on the date of television space issued in early December, 2,167 fewer rental vehicles operated in the capital, for cancelled licenses because they had no adequate technical conditions and did not approve the review, the one carried and brought “somatón”. That figure, if we average five seats and at least ten daily trips from each of these cars, results in 108,350 people being transported each day.
Minister Yzquierdo noted that work is being made to have some 700 buses rolled daily in the capital, between rigid and articulated, as well as some 200 microbuses and 600 cars of various kinds and cited different investments to the effect in parts and tyres. But, the official also pointed out, they are averages with up to ten or more years of exploitation and it is not always possible to go beyond 60% or 70% daily of exit to the street of these. On the other hand, between the end of December and January 400 minibuses, twelve seats, must arrive in Havana, in addition to 90 new buses, spread over 50 articulated and 40 rigid.
While it is true that such means would help to ostensibly improve transport, there are some reflections on purpose. On the one hand, even if the buses and all their state accessories (routers, transmeters and others) were providing abastic, which do not now give rise, we must also think about the conditions under which these trips happen. Let’s just give an example. We live in a country that ages every day. How many seniors, and even the second, can’t jump into the pitched battle of tackling a rush hour bus and crowds? The figures that are proposed to be met in terms of the staff to be moved and the collection in the city are important, it is true, but as the authorities in the field are concerned with giving their workers a living wage, between two thousand and five thousand pesos, as stated by the minister, in line with the work they do, we must also worry about the dignity and comfort of the transported person.
It is not just a question of moving the amount of 1 300 000 habaneros (including a few Orientals) that officials say must be transported daily in the capital. We also have to look at how these passengers are transported, because we are not talking here about cattle heads. Behind those numbers are people. Travelling like canned sardines, tight and sweaty, surrounded by dirt and split seats, listening to the stormy decibels of music that humanizes the driver’s work and sets the guagua and under the animosity of claims of some co-pilot collector (uniformed or not), apparently does not carry very high doses of dignity. You have to think about that achievement, too.
On the other hand, and since there is certainly much to be rearranged in transport (and everything else), the relevance of this work is out of the question. But wasn’t it better to wait for those reinforcements to arrive before starting the drastic reduction of so many rental cars because of their technical disability? These months from mid-October to early January (when we drafted this work) have been agonizing to be transported at peak times. In addition, far from helping the population, the first consequences of the experiment were, in addition to car shortages, a marked increase in prices on several routes in the capital by those left unscathed.
In Guanabo, to and from Havana, the price rose to three CUC for each passenger. Towards Alamar, twenty pesos, climbed to one CUC per person. In Ten of October, from La Palma to Vedado and vice versa, one of those long routes whose price had remained mostly in ten pesos, increased between fifteen and twenty pesos the trip, according to the car seats and the driver’s year. In addition, in this same way, the almost total disappearance of the new yellow five-seater routers towards Vedado became evident, the beginning of which was, in truth, a great relief on a road that crosses three very populated municipalities. There were also far fewer minibuses bound for Old Havana. Private taxis, especially those now grouped in the new free category, where the driver chooses at will route and price, handle exorbitant figures as a collection of their trips. A friend at the Craft Fair in the fortress of La Cabaña paid ten CUC for returning his family to the Micro X area, on the final edge of Alamar. No comment.
The old yellow state taxis, almost all of them, continue to serve dialysis patients and in hospitals and funeral homes. When such duties are completed they are incorporated into the carriage of passengers. As a forgotten television newscast recently emphasized, these cars had to charge more or less affordable fees from an e-book, but if it does, it doesn’t even matter if such an admin works. These races, byciting convention, were charged ten pesos on any route. Now, without convention or news, they uploaded their trips to twenty pesos and you take it, almost always with a tight pocket of anguish, or let it go and keep waiting; not to mention that, in many cases, the conditions, especially their interiors with broken and dirty seats and the permanent smell of gasoline that leaks from the engine, are deplorable. Something inconceivable when you consider that these are cars largely intended to transport sick to hospitals and mourners to burials.
Other consequences also affect the ultimate link of this entire fabric. We agree that this reordering is a complex process. However, Deputy Minister Oramas explained that a self-employed worker, immersed in complying with the new provisions of the experiment, and already after having approved his technical review, then has to go to five different instances, to complete his entire update and legalize his status. Read that this is equivalent to doing five different paperwork, in five different places. Everyone knows that, in Cuba, a single process makes the twelve works of Hercules seem small, so let’s imagine doing five and at least multiply by two the times that you will have to go to each or for two the hours of waiting.
Have you not repeatedly asked the country’s management to reduce the paperwork? How much bureaucracy, how much inefficiency, how much corruption even, is hidden behind five formalities in five institutions? How much money was left to be produced at that time? How many people stopped transporting and produced nothing in those lapses? It should also be said that, despite the controls highlighted by the leadership of the sector, they are carried out in the so-called “somatón”, where the minister also recognized the occurrence of unworthy affairs and the corresponding taking of measures, and a couple of drivers, modern taxi tenants, confirmed to us the rise in black prices of this management up to 200 CUC. “And that, with the good car, ” they said.
Thus, despite the reorderings, capital transport in a serious state follows. If, as the highest levels of the sector expressed, the purpose of this experiment is to improve the quality of service to the people, there is much to be rethed, changed and improved.
In a nut words and on other topics, before finalizing these lines, we also want to make some positive highlights and notes. We have already mentioned that ministers and other senior managers appear at the Round Table on Cuban television. That’s very good, I hope you make a habit of it. It would now be lacking that their criteria are more like the reality of the 20-footers and there would be more answers, more solutions and fewer slogans and self-outlines to achievements and perspectives. In some television, radio and press spaces, such as Free Access or as the sections of letters of the population (with perennial underlined to the incombustible colleague Pepe Alejandro Rodríguez), it is remarkable that the real voice of people is heard more. Television in their information spaces, especially but also the press in general, have yet to get rid of formoles and packaging and land towards people. It must look more like the country we are every day and not as much as we’d like to be.
President Miguel Díaz-Canel himself acknowledged on television screens, while talking about housing problems in a session of parliament, the existence of corruption at different levels and officials, and the need to end it. He also called for institutions, albeit through the now limited channel of computer pages (which not all people access yet), to have more contact with people’s reality and to listen to and care for them more. Either way, cyberspace, which should appear more on screens and in newspapers to reach everyone, is beginning to have greater relevance when it comes to showing social problems and delicacies. Filming made from a simple mobile phone, with the opinions of a leader located on the street by the people, can be in minutes in the public sphere and generate states of opinion and participation of various criteria. This process is increasingly necessary, that dialogue becomes essential, to really change how much needs to be changed.
The press must be part of that claim that calls for the highest management in the country and that the population so desperately needs. The first essential phase in resolving a conflict is to mention it, not to silence or mask it. These problems must be brought, however hard, to the public pill to stone them with popular judgment and to cure them for those who have a responsibility to do so. The voice of the people must be heard more everywhere, for no voice like that knows the evils that afflict them. Vox populi, vox Dei, pray the old Latin adage. The voice of the people is the voice of God. So divine, wise and powerful is the will of the popular criterion. Everywhere should be heard. Then, those who have to hear, after they hear, look for the necessary answers and solutions. Ω

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