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Native Options Enhance Sustainable Micro-Mobility in Cuba

Residents of the Fontanar neighborhood within the Cuban capital are happy with the incorporation of electrical three-wheel autos to shorten distances between sectors inside Boyeros, one of many municipalities that make up Havana. Photograph: Jorge Luis Baños/IPS

By Luis Brizuela (IPS)

HAVANA TIMES – The incorporation of small electrical autos for public transport, along with initiatives that encourage using bicycles, symbolize alternatives and challenges for Cuba to sustainably and inclusively fight the persistent issues in city mobility.

“Connecting close by locations with electrical technique of transportation has been very well timed and a reduction,” stated Dania Martínez, referring to the well-known Ecotaxis, six-seater autos that since June have been offering transportation between neighborhoods throughout the municipality of Boyeros, one of many 15 that make up Havana.

“Neomovilidad has aimed to strengthen the regulatory framework for an environment friendly transition to a low-carbon city transport system in Havana, with a optimistic environmental impression.” —Reynier Campos

The instructor and her son had been ready for one in every of these autos on the Fontanar procuring heart to take them to Wajay, their neighborhood on the outskirts of Havana, when IPS requested them what they thought concerning the service.

“Public transportation isn’t good on this space, removed from the town heart, and personal taxis cost you a excessive price. Simply getting elsewhere 5 kilometers away might be tough. Hopefully the three-wheelers will unfold to different locations,” Martinez stated.

She was referring to mild motorized autos that resemble some sorts of Asian autorickshaws, that are additionally recognized regionally as motocarro or mototaxi, with a capability for six folks within the again.

With a spread of 120 kilometers, these three-wheeled electrical autos cowl three two- to four-kilometer routes for a value of 4 pesos, or 17 cents on the official trade price in a rustic with a median month-to-month wage equal to about 160 {dollars} .

The fleet of 25 autos is a part of the Neomovilidad challenge, carried out by the Normal Directorate of Transportation of Havana (DGTH) and the United Nations Improvement Program (UNDP) workplace in Cuba.

For its implementation till 2023, it has a price range of 1.9 million {dollars} donated by the International Surroundings Facility (GEF).

“From its begin in 2019, Neomovilidad has aimed to strengthen the regulatory framework for an environment friendly transition to a low-carbon city transport system in Havana, with a optimistic environmental impression,” Reynier Campos, director of the challenge, advised IPS.

Through the first three months of operation, greater than 135,000 folks had been transported, with an estimated month-to-month emission discount potential of 6.12 tons of carbon dioxide equal.

On the draw back, Ecotaxis can solely recharge at evening by connecting to the nationwide energy grid, 95 p.c of which is dependent upon the burning of fossil fuels to generate electrical energy. Recharging is carried out on the three-wheel autos’ parking space and is completed at evening as a result of it takes about six hours.

Nonetheless, there are plans to contract energy from photo voltaic parks of the state-owned electrical utility Unión Eléctrica de Cuba, so as to offset consumption, executives stated.

Different fleets of Ecotaxis present service within the municipalities of La Habana Vieja, Centro Habana and Guanabacoa, additionally with UNDP assist, and contribute to the nationwide dedication to local weather change mitigation actions.

Campos defined that Neomovilidad is a pilot challenge in Boyeros that could possibly be prolonged to different Havana municipalities and cities of this Caribbean island nation of 11.1 million folks, the place public transportation is without doubt one of the most urgent long-term points.

Reynier Campos, head of the Neomovilidad challenge, burdened that the initiative proposes to strengthen the legislative framework and promote public insurance policies based mostly on 4 traces that contribute to Sustainable City Mobility and assist cut back carbon emissions in Cuba. Photograph: Jorge Luis Baños/IPS

Lengthy-standing downside

With its 2.2 million residents and tens of 1000’s of people that stay right here on a short-term foundation, Havana has 1.4 million folks utilizing transportation day by day, a million of whom makes use of the state-owned bus firm Empresa de Ómnibus Urbanos, based on the Ministry of Transportation.

However the newest official stories acknowledge that lower than 50 p.c of the fleet of public buses are presently working within the capital.

The Cuban authorities blames the US embargo as the principle impediment to the acquisition of spare components, in addition to the shortage of entry to credit score to restore and renovate buses, the principle type of public transportation.

Issues with the provision of gasoline and the variety of drivers who discover work in sectors with better financial advantages additionally undermine an irregular service whose most seen face is the overcrowded stops at peak hours.

Figures point out that 26 p.c of the overall estimated passengers in Havana use non-public taxis, which cost larger charges that not everybody can afford.

There are additionally non-agricultural transportation cooperatives with cabs and minibuses, in addition to buses of the state-owned Transmetro Firm, that present companies with set schedules.

About 80 p.c of Latin America’s inhabitants stay in cities and cities, and concrete public transport stays important in regional mobility plans.

Cuba is quietly taking steps to encourage using different autos and enhance electrical energy manufacturing from renewable sources, which plans purpose to lift from the present 5 to 37 p.c by 2030.

On account of versatile customs rules for his or her importation, in addition to meeting, it’s estimated that half one million bicycles, bikes and electrical three-wheelers are in circulation on the island, serving to households get round.

Nonetheless, excessive costs and gross sales solely in overseas forex hinder their unfold. Among the most economical ones value over 1,000 {dollars}, whereas others vary from 2,000 to five,000 {dollars} in authorities shops.

Mirelis Cordovés, driver of one of many electrocycles, makes 11 journeys a day on the Fontanar-Wajay route, within the Boyeros municipality of the Cuban capital. She is happy to have a job and a better earnings to assist her nine-year-old son, whom she is elevating on her personal. Photograph: Jorge Luis Baños/IPS

Gender focus to cut back gaps

Neomovilidad stands out for encouraging the incorporation of ladies as drivers and selling feminine employment.

“Along with giving me a job, my earnings is larger, serving to me assist my nine-year-old son,” Mirelis Cordovés, a single mom who is without doubt one of the 13 ladies who now type a part of the challenge’s staff of drivers, advised IPS.

Latin American nations similar to Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Panama have adopted nationwide insurance policies associated to the event of electrical mobility.

Within the case of Cuba, the proposal is “a imaginative and prescient for the event of electromobility from the Ministries of Transport, Power and Mines and Trade, with pointers and precedence traces in public transport, together with the conversion of autos,” stated Campos.

He stated that Neomovilidad proposes to advertise public insurance policies that contribute to Sustainable City Mobility.

The challenge urges contemplating the precise mobility wants of every social group and mainstreaming variables similar to gender, age and accessibility, so as to cut back gaps.

The Nationwide Gender Equality Survey, performed in 2016 however whose outcomes had been launched in February 2019, confirmed that ladies primarily bear the burden of care work.

They’re those who spend probably the most time taking youngsters, members of the family or different folks underneath their care to colleges, hospitals or to purchase meals, the survey confirmed.

Transportation was recognized as one of many prime three issues for Cuban ladies, second solely to low incomes and housing shortages.

The examine drew consideration to the correlation between time use and earnings inequality, as a result of cheaper transportation choices (public buses) enhance journey delays.

Consultants consulted by IPS think about that within the case of Cuba, a growing nation shaken by a three-decade financial disaster and urgent monetary issues, there isn’t any want to attend for options that demand giant assets, if small and accessible alternate options might be devised to arrange and facilitate mobility.

The Neomovilidad stand in the course of the 2022 Worldwide Transport Truthful on the Pabexpo fairgrounds in Havana. The challenge features a pilot system of public bicycles, with six bicycle stations and 300 bikes, which ought to begin providing its companies earlier than the tip of 2022. Photograph: Jorge Luis Baños/IPS

Integrating bicycles

As a part of Neomovilidad, a pilot system of public bicycles ought to be inaugurated earlier than the tip of 2022, with six stations and 300 bicycles, additionally within the municipality of Boyeros.

The autonomous enterprise Inteliforja will function the bicycle mobility system as an area improvement challenge, together with the DGTH, after successful a bidding course of.

“The principle exercise would be the rental of bicycles at reasonably priced costs. It can embrace different companies similar to parking, mechanical workshops, in addition to complementary actions similar to bicycle touring, package deal supply and group actions to encourage using this implies of transport,” defined Luis Alberto Sarmiento, one of many managers of Inteliforja.

Sarmiento advised IPS that the central workshop shall be situated on the José Antonio Echeverría Technological College of Havana, the place there are a number of engineering and structure programs.

“We plan to put in a photo voltaic panel-powered station there to cost college students’ bikes and electrical bicycles,” stated the younger entrepreneur.

“Farther sooner or later, when we now have extra assets, we plan to introduce bicycles or three-wheelers for the transportation of aged and disabled folks,” Sarmiento added.

Though electrical mobility and using bicycles are seen as selling extra open, safer, cleaner and more healthy cities, Cuba faces a number of challenges on this regard, beginning with the necessity to decrease the value of autos and make sure the steady availability of components and elements.

Different pending points are the shortage of recharging factors for refueling exterior the house, the shortage of bicycle lanes or inexperienced lanes, along with the pressing must restore a highway community, 75 p.c of which is classed as in honest or poor situation.

Learn extra from Cuba right here on Havana Instances

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