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Rediff.com  » News » PHOTOS: Why Venezuelans are commuting on cargo trucks

PHOTOS: Why Venezuelans are commuting on cargo trucks

July 19, 2018 08:38 IST

In central Venezuelan city of Valencia, once a thriving industrial city, as in much of the country, public buses have gradually disappeared due to scarce or prohibitively expensive tires, motor oil, batteries and spare parts.

IMAGE: Commuters ride on a cargo truck used as public transportation in Valencia, Venezuela. All photographs: Marco Bello/Reuters

Cargo trucks of all shapes and sizes have taken their place.

IMAGE: A man helps a kid get on board a cargo truck.

But most trucks lack even basic safety protections for human cargo and are increasingly associated with accidents and injuries to passengers -- a further sign of the deteriorating quality of life in the crisis-stricken country.

 

IMAGE: A woman carries a baby as they ride on a cargo truck. Most of these trucks lack even basic safety protections and are increasingly associated with accidents.

Whenever a flatbed truck, previously used to transport water bottles pulls up nearby, a ruthless scramble kicks off with pregnant women, parents holding toddlers and elderly Venezuelans all jostling to get themselves aboard.

IMAGE: People try to get on a cargo truck, called the 'dog carts'.

The 'dog carts', as they are informally known in Caracas, tend to squeeze standing passengers -- mostly poor Venezuelans -- into the backs of the large vehicles.

IMAGE: Even pregnant women are forced to take these risky rides. 

There are no exact records of how many cargo trucks circulate in different cities. Schedules and rates vary from one place to another as well.

IMAGE: Accidents are often due to poorly maintained vehicles with bald tires or insufficient oil as well as reckless drivers.

Similar forms of transport have been common in developing countries and struggling economies in recent decades, but are rarely seen in oil-rich countries such as Venezuela.

IMAGE: A commuter pays for a ride on a cargo truck.

These cargo trucks are now nearly as common as passenger buses in Venezuela.

IMAGE: These 'dog carts' tend to squeeze standing passengers into the backs of the large vehicles.

Transport union leaders say a fleet that two years ago was estimated at of 2,80,000 vehicles has been whittled to just 30,000.

IMAGE: A woman is helped to get on a cargo truck.

Accidents are often due to poorly maintained vehicles with bald tires or insufficient oil as well as reckless drivers, according to passengers and union leaders.

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