Need a ride?

By May 12, 2015Travel

Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle ran a story about Leap Transit and other new alternatives to public transportation. These private, luxury buses offer Wi-Fi and Blue Bottle Coffee. You can spread out, even sit at a desk. What else would you expect in San Francisco?

In Santiago de Cuba, privately owned covered trucks are the alternative for crosstown transit. Far from luxurious, they’re not even quaint. They roam the streets in greater numbers than the government run buses.  There’s a driver in front and another man in back collects the fares. Passengers climb on board and take their seats on the benches that line the long sides of the trucks. The trucks we saw crammed in at least twenty people.

Our air-conditioned tour bus takes us to Santiago de Cuba’s main plaza. Trees, benches and a fountain painted peacock blue decorate the center of the square. We ride an elevator to a rooftop restaurant for a bird’s eye view of the activities below. It’s too hot to be indoors. We watch as the street lamps turn on and the townspeople fill the plaza.

Children entertain themselves with a single pedal car. An older child pedals while younger kids pile on behind. A toy convertible appears for the toddlers. One trip around and another little one gets a turn.

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