PublicLabs en La Habana
Transport is a complex issue in contemporary Havana and the effects of the blockade are extremely visible in this area. The vast majority of the population regardless of the income group they belong to relies on mobility modes that are not associated to private individual vehicles. A private car is a scarce expensive
commodity and there is very low motorisation rate. Mostly, travellers are users of a public transportation based on an old almost exclusively petrol-dependent fleet. Newly introduced options include also collective taxis and other more expensive modes. The extremely low prices of the public transportation (between USD 0.02 – USD 0.25 excluding collective taxis) means that affordability is not a barrier even for the most vulnerable people in the city. On the other hand, bicycles are stigmatized by the bad memories of the 90 ́s when it became the only option available for the majority of the Habaneros. Their numbers have diminished to almost inexistence. The current offer of bikes is beyond reach for most pockets.
The supply of buses doesn’t meet the demand, and the increasing offers of collective taxis is insufficient and affect other related variables. The predominant fleet of vehicles is old and there is a lack of resource to cover the needs of maintenance.
The restrictions imposed by U.S.A on finance has been a major factor not only in the maintenance of the means of transport and the access for its replace, but in the low level of investment in infrastructure over many years that contributes to restricted accessibility, danger and a poor quality urban environment. All of this has a negative impact in the provision of public transport and in the capacity to provide better conditions for mobility and accessibility in Havana.
Access to Services
Because Cuba has developed widespread affordable healthcare and educational systems during the last 60 years, this has allowed everyone a level of access to good quality service in their own neighbourhoods. This kind of embedded infrastructure, even within informal settlements, increases the accessibility and therefore diminishes the needs of movement around the city.
Paradoxically, this does come with its own risks .
- The lack of maintenance of pedestrians infrastructure
- Poor conditions of walking infrastructure
- Car-oriented road geometry and design
- Low traffic volumes combined with drivers ́perception of exclusive right to the roads enables relatively high speeds.
All of it makes hostile and unfriendly to the walkability in vast areas of the city. This limits the participation of older people and those with disabilities in particular, since walking is often the only available option.