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Cuba to partially privatize taxi service

Updated: 2014-01-09 11:06
( Xinhua)

Cuba to partially privatize taxi service

A man drives his Soviet-era Russian Lada taxi in Havana January 8, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

HAVANA - Cuba plans to partially privatize its taxi service as part of the country's recent economic reforms to streamline a bloated public sector and make such service more efficient, the Government Gazette announced Wednesday.

Cuba's taxi drivers, who up to now have worked as employees of the state-run taxi service, will become self-employed workers who lease their cars from the state.

This plan was made after the success of a pilot project carried out in the capital Havana since 2010 and at the beach resort of Varadero since 2011, official daily Granma reported, adding the privatization plan would be implemented gradually around the country.

Debora Canela Pina, an expert from Cuban Transportation Ministry, was sure that the change would lead to improvement in the quality of taxi service in Cuba.

"More than just changing the appearance of taxis, the new scheme forms part of an operating model that changes the companies' structures, their administrative personnel and taxi drivers, with the fundamental aim of raising the quality of services being offered today," she said.

The new model "considerably decreases the amount of time clients wait after requesting the service and maintains the obligation of using a taximeter or official rate," she added.

In the future, drivers will be in charge of taxis' maintenance, fuel and repairs and can decide how many hours to work. Passengers will be able to pay in Cuban pesos or US dollars.

The new model is set to be put into practice nationwide by the end of 2014.

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