Havana's fixed-route taxis, IV


1953 Chevrolet Handyman (or perhaps a Townsman).
     Peso taxis, or ruteros, emerged soon after the revolution to ease Cuba's overburdened public transportation system, Richard Schweid writes in Che's Chevrolet, Fidel's Oldsmobile.
    With no replacement parts available, buses were harder than cars to keep on the road. To help citizens get about, the government put private vehicles on designated routes under the administration of the Servicio de Transporte Popular.
    Cuba has more buses today, though not as many as it needs, so the ruteros remain. For Schweid, they offer "a cheap way to get from old Havana to Vedado and enjoy a ride in some car that I never anticipated riding again for the rest of my life: a 1953 Dodge, four of us crammed in the back seat and two in front with the driver; or a 1954 Ford station wagon with two back seats, the extra welded into the carryall space ... "
    For the author, an added delight is to watch the driver work the gear selector mounted on the steering column, right arm pushing the lever out and up by the steering wheel to make the shift to second.
    "To ride in a car where the driver is making that motion is another thing I had not expected to do again," he reports.

Same Chevy station wagon, spotted later that day.

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