Cuban Transportation

Without any doubt, the most frequent question that we’ve gotten since returning from our trip to Cuba is, “Did you see many old cars?” We saw old cars–lots of them!

In the U.S., we think of transportation as a general right, with the expectation that transportation is easily available. That did not appear to be the case in Cuba. Transportation there included walking, horseback, horse and buggy, oxen and buggy, people movers (transport trucks, sort of), motor cycles, and anything else that could get a person from one place to another. In this post, I am going to include LOTS of pictures of the old cars, but will also include pictures of the other forms of transportation that we saw.

OLD CARS!!!

There were lots of 1940’s and 1950’s era American cars, but we also saw some old Soviet-built cars. There were also some modern cars, mostly Toyotas. We were told that most of the old American cars have Russian engines and tires made in China. There was no such thing as emissions standards or fuel efficiency! Most of the old cars have been brightly repainted numerous times; car owners take pride in their cars. License plate numbers begin with letters that indicate the vehicle’s use: B = bus or business, P = private, T = taxi or tourism, D = diplomat, etc. Here are just a few of the many old cars that we saw…

20160304_134642w

20160305_105230w

20160305_105300w

20160309_100216w

20160307_100524w
Our tour bus behind the Willy.

 

20160309_172511w

20160310_143556w

20160310_143636w

DSC01279w

DSC01614w

DSC01728w

DSC02080w

DSC02260w

DSC02267w

DSC02424w
This is one of my favorite pictures from the trip!
DSC02444w
We took a ride in this taxi. The price was right!
Loved the red, white, and blue air freshener!
Loved the red, white, and blue air freshener!

DSC02548w

DSC02628w
We saw very few pick-up trucks.
Morning rush hour. Notice the old cars, but also the number of people walking.
Morning rush hour. Notice the old cars, but also the number of people walking.

It was not unusual to see cars with their hoods up, with several engine-observers looking in.

20160309_100255w

DSC01260w

DSC01964w

Several people have asked about road conditions and the price of gas. Road conditions vary quite a bit. There are a few four lane roads. Many roads are paved with good asphalt and others are riddled with potholes. Some roads in the country are a mix of worn asphalt and dirt or are just dirt. In the country, there was often a worn wide path beside the road. We discovered that farmers often pull loads by sled and oxen and use the paths rather than the road.

DSC01597w
This was one of the more challenging roads.

We never saw gas prices posted and didn’t think to ask the question about the price of gas. But, since everything is government-owned, we assume that the government sets the price and that is just what it costs. Since every family did not appear to own cars, we are not sure whether gas is allocated with government vouchers or is purchased with cash. Gas stations looked similar to those with which we are accustomed.

DSC01320w
A gas station
DSC01595w
And another

‘Public’ Transportation

One of the oddest things to us was the number of people walking along the roads or waiting along the sides of busier roads. People wait until a transport-type truck comes by to pick them up. Any sort of large truck seemed to be used. In Havana, we did see old city buses being used, but more often we saw people-movers like those in the pictures below.

DSC02468w
Waiting for a ride.
20160305_105644w
Public transportation?
DSC01549w
People mover
DSC01579w
Box car?
DSC01861w
Or, a dump truck!

Innovative Transportation

Lots of people walk to get from place to place, but there were many, many other options! Sometimes we were not fast enough to get the picture, but from the images below, you will get the idea.

DSC01752w
The man walking had been carrying the door on his head. He stopped for a break about the time I snapped the picture.

DSC01733w

DSC01475w
Horse and buggy
DSC01560w
Oxen and cart
DSC01978w
Bicycle, oxen and cart, and walking
DSC01928w
Motorcycle and side car, along with a bicycle for two!
DSC01987w
Modified bicycles
DSC01997w
Horse and buggy
DSC02096w
Horseback

If all goes as planned, in the next post I will tell you a little about the farming practices that we saw!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *