Transportation in Cuba

Transportation in Cuba is comprised of a system of railways, roads, buses, airports, waterways, ports and harbours:

Railways

* "total:" 11,968 km (4,226 km + 7,742 km)
* "standard gauge:" 4,226 km RailGauge|sg gauge (140 km electrified)
* "note:" an additional 7,742 km of track is used by sugar plantations; about 65% of this track is standard gauge; the rest is narrow gauge (2003)

Cuba built the first railway system in the Spanish empire, before the 1848 start in the Iberian peninsula. While the rail infrastructure dates from colonial and early republican times, passenger service along the principal Havana to Santiago corridor is increasingly reliable and popular with tourists who can purchase tickets in Cuban convertible pesos. As with most public transport in Cuba, the vehicles used are second hand, and the flagship "Tren Francés" ("French train") between Havana and Santiago de Cuba is operated by coaches originally used in Europe between Paris and Amsterdam on the ex-TEE express. The train is formed by 12 coaches and a Chinese-built locomotive.

With the order of 12 new Chinese locomotives, built specially for Cuban Railways at China Northern Locomotives and Rolling Stock Works, services have been improving in reliability. Those benefiting the most are long distance freight services with the French train Havana-Santiago being the only passenger train using one of the new Chinese locomotives regularly. Various orders are in place for 100 locomotives from China and various freight wagons and passenger coaches. [ [http://www.railpage.com.au/f-t11334915.htm Cuba - Railpage Australia™ Forums (Central and South America) ] ]

Roads

Highways:
*"total:" 60,858 km
**"paved:" 29,820 km (including 638 km of expressway)
**"unpaved:" 31,038 km (1999 est.)

Much of this including the Central Highway, the Via Blanca and Via Azul existed prior to 1959.

Long-distance and inter-municipality buses in Cuba

There are two national bus companies in Cuba. Viazul operate a fleet of modern and comfortable coaches on longer distance routes designed principally for tourists. Slower and less reliable services are provided by Astro Bus, generally with much older vehicles, many imported from the Soviet Union. These services are significantly cheaper than Viazul, and are therefore increasingly popular with budget conscious tourists and visitors to Cuba. However, ASTRO (Asociacion de Transporte por Omnibus) has recently purchased from the Chinese manufacturer Yutong Bus a fleet of nearly 1000 air-conditioned units. They are being used on most of the long distance routes nationwide and some services have been increased. However, the ticket price was also raised recently, making it less affordable for the regular Cuban that chooses ASTRO to travel. Routes that have benefited most so far are those from Havana to each of the 13 provincial capitals of the country.

On 27 June 2007 it was reported that Cuba will start assembling the 200 first Yutong buses for inter-municipal transportation starting the second half of 2007. [ [http://www.cubaheadlines.com/2007/06/27/4110/cuba_to_assemble_chinese_buses.html Cuba to assemble chinese buses | Cuba News Headlines. Cuban Daily News ] ]

Urban buses

In Havana urban transportation is provided by a colourful selection of buses imported from the Soviet Union or Canada. Many of these vehicles are second hand (such as the 1500 decommissioned Dutch buses, which the Netherlands donated to Cuba in the mid 1990s) and despite the United States trade embargo, American-style yellow school buses (imported second-hand from Canada) are increasingly common sights. On seven key lines in and out of the city, service is provided by "camellos" ("camels" or "dromedaries", after their "humps"), trailer buses that haul as many as two hundred passengers in a passenger carrying trailer. The camellos will be phased out in April 2008 with Chinese Zhengzhou Yutong Buses.

After the upgrading of Seville's public bus fleet to CNG-powered and new vehicles, many of the decommissioned ones were donated to the city of Havana. These bright orange buses still display the name of "Transportes Urbanos de Sevilla, S.A.M.", their former owner, and Seville's coat of arms as a sign of gratitute. [The last lot was delivered in 2006: [http://www.sevilla.org/impe/sevilla/contenido?pag=/contenidos/centro_prensa/noticias_2006/Julio/28_07_2006_m&vE=D4268,9,15 "Entrega de 16 autobuses de TUSSAM a la Habana como gesto solidario"] , nota de prensa del Ayuntamiento de Sevilla]

On 18 July 2007 it was reported that Cuba will receive 100 urban buses from Belarus before years end, destined for use in Havana. [ [http://www.cubaheadlines.com/2007/07/18/4520/belarus_to_ship_100_urban_buses_to_cuba_by_late_2007.html Belarus to ship 100 urban buses to Cuba by late 2007 | Cuba News Headlines. Cuban Daily News ] ]

Cuban State Council Vice President Carlos Lage declared in 2007 that Cuba would receive 1,142 more Chinese buses for urban transport before years end [ [http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/bizchina/2007-10/03/content_6151768.htm Cuba praises high quality of Chinese-made buses ] ]

Waterways

240 km

Ports and harbors:

* Cienfuegos
* Havana
* Manzanillo
* Mariel
* Matanzas
* Nuevitas
* Santiago de Cuba

Merchant marine

:"total:" 13 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 54,818 GRT/DWT|81,850|metric|first=yes:"ships by type:"
* bulk carriers 3
* cargo ships 4
* gas carrying tankers 1
* petroleum tanker 3
* refrigerated cargo ships 2 :"registered in other countries:" 35 (2003 est.)

Airlines

Besides the state owned airline Cubana (Cubana de Aviación), the two other major Cuban airlines are Aero Caribbean and Aerogaviota, both of whom operate modern European and Russian aircraft. Other airline Aerotaxi

Airports

* 170 (2003 est.)

Airports with paved runways

*"total:" 79
*"over 3,047 m:" 7
*"2,438 to 3,047 m:" 9
*"1,524 to 2,437 m:" 20
*"914 to 1,523 m:" 6
*"under 914 m:" 37 (2003 est.)

Airports with unpaved runways

*"total:" 91
*"914 to 1,523 m:" 29
*"under 914 m:" 62 (2003 est.)

ee also

*Infrastructure of Cuba

References

External links

* [http://www.cubana.cu/ Cubana Airlines]
* [http://www.aero-caribbean.com Aero-Caribbean]
* [http://www.aerogaviota.com Aero-Gaviota]
* [http://www.viazul.com/ Viazul long distance coaches]
* [http://seat61.com/Cuba.htm Information on train travel in Cuba]
* [http://www.philseed.com/Cuba.html Photos of antique Cuban cars]


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