Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. - http://www.cubafreepress.org

February 12, 1999, Cuba Free Press.

MOST PRIVATE PALMA SORIANO DRIVERS CONTINUE WORK STOPPAGE By Efrén Martínez Pulgarón, Cuba Free Press.

HAVANA - A score or more private truck and other passenger vehicle drivers of Palma Soriano continue their work stoppage begun Jan. 10 in the face of continued government demands that they pay more taxes and continue to be obliged to spend U.S. dollars to buy repair parts, engine fuel and tires.

Passengers who want to travel from Palma Soriano to Santiago or other towns in the province continue to have great difficulties finding transportation. There is virtually no public transportation. Private drivers have handled 90 percent of the passengers.

Government officials with the Transport Ministry and the Assembly of People's Power are considering a reduction in the prices allowed for transport, while demanding that the drivers pay a monthly tax of more than 500 pesos plus 10 pesos for every trip between towns. Government officials keep track of the trips.

The government says the price for a trip shall be one peso for each 20 kilometers (12 miles) of a trip. From Palma Soriano to Santiago was three pesos. As of Jan. 10, the government the cost should not be more than 2.5 pesos.

Most drivers have been charging a flat rate per trip irrespective of length and have declined to work under the new circumstances.

This morning (Jan. 12) some drivers made trips to the Santiago Three station. A source in Palma Soriano said this was not enough to take care of travelers to various parts of the province. On normal days, from 15 to 20 trucks and other vehicles travel to various parts of the eastern zone of the country.

By telephone, one terminal worker said, "I would like to know whether more drivers will begin work. They say that this afternoon a couple trucks will leave. But things are not normal."

Efrén Martínez Pulgarón, Cuba Free Press.


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