Cuban Mobile Startup RenC Promises to Be the Island’s Uber

By: Sabrina Martín - @SabrinaMartinR - Sep 20, 2016, 12:37 pm
RenC hopes to be the Uber of Cuba. (MasCoche)

EspañolCuban entrepreneurs launched a phone app that hopes to become the Uber of the island.

RenC intends to become the “wheels of Cuba” by allowing the request of a private taxi via smartphone.

The initiative comes from the SIEM group, that upon learning of the existence of Uber sought ways to adapt the service to the needs of Cubans.

Head Coordinator of RenC Raymond J. Sutil said the fundamental limitation of their app is its inability to use GPS and electronic payment, as it is virtually impossible to do so in Cuba.

Sutil said RenC will be of “minimal cost” to its users. Requesting the service will go for about 0.09 CUC (equivalent to nine cents USD) on a person’s phone balance.

Just like Uber, a person asks for a ride and a driver responds to the request and picks the passenger up.

The service will operate primarily in Havana and will be available 24 hours a day. To use it, you have to have the application installed on your phone, allowing you to see the travel destination, type of vehicle and number of passengers, among other things.

An order confirmation will inform the travel distance and cost of travel. The customer must agree to them, then data is sent through an SMS RenC server, which searches for the nearest taxi.

The customer receives a message with the name and photo of the driver as well as an image of the vehicle and its license plate.

Drivers interested in joining must submit RenC licenses as private carriers, as well as a driving license.

The next upgrade to the app is due for October, RenC officials said.

The creators of the service said they intend to expand to other regions of the country and also to provide interprovincial travel. RenC also aims to create a version for making reservations from outside of Cuba.

Sources: Martí Noticias; Cubanet

Sabrina Martín Sabrina Martín

Sabrina Martín is a Venezuelan journalist, commentator, and editor based in Valencia with experience in corporate communication. Follow @SabrinaMartinR.

Venezuelan PDVSA Bonds Downgraded Again amid Default Worries

By: Sabrina Martín - @SabrinaMartinR - Sep 20, 2016, 11:54 am

EspañolStandard & Poor's has downgraded the credit rating of oil company Petroleos of Venezuela SA (PDVSA). In a statement, the financial company said it lowered the corporate credit rating (from CCC to CC) of Venezuela's state oil company for being vulnerable and untrustworthy. Read more: Oil Company PDVSA at Risk of Defaulting without Citibank Read more: Venezuela's Oil Production Plummets as Credit Lines Vanish The new rating corresponds to risky investments, the statement also said. S&P officials said they believe PDVSA is "highly vulnerable, with a high speculative level." They also it said there is little prospect that PDVSA will recover before an imminent default. Though Venezuela is still complying with payments, the rating agency's officials said it expects PDVSA to default. PDVSA recently announced new conditions for voluntary exchanges of bonds that would meet its owed debt through 2017. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); }); PDVSA has a bond-swap deal starting September 29 in which $950 of securities will be paid per $1,000. "The oil and gas company of Venezuela PDVSA announced a debt exchange offer," the S&P statement said. "We see it as a sign of difficulties if completed. Under the proposed transaction, the company would exchange its senior unsecured bonds 5.25 percent and 8.5 percent due 2017 for new bonds to 8.5 percent due in 2020." Similarly, the US company said the completion of the bond exchange offer will reduce the corporate credit rating to "SD" and senior issuance bonds to "D" again. On Monday, September 19, bonds with state oil opened lower after PDVSA announced a voluntary debt swap of about US $ 7.1 billion

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