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As city plans for tram start-up, some monthly operating expenses are reduced

Following a review of operational expenses for Cuenca’s tram system, the new city government says it is saving thousands of dollars a month by reducing electricity, personnel and legal costs.

A firm date has still not be announced for the beginning of tram service.

Mayor Pedro Palacios has set a goal of reducing operational expenses by 50 percent in the months before the system begins full operation later this year. An audit of expenses identified a number of area where money can be saved, he says, including the cost of electric power which has been reduced from $22,000 to $13,000 a month. Other savings include a reduction of maintenance staff where the audit identified several cases of “redundancy” in operations.

According to Palacios, work is proceeding in preparation of full tram operation, which he says will begin “as soon as possible.” He continues to insist that no firm start-up date will be announced until he is confident it can be met. “We don’t want to repeat the mistakes of the past,” he says.

Municipal Councilman Cristian Zamora, who heads the council’s transportation committee, says that obstacles to the beginning of operations are in the process of being overcome. “The major one is reaching an agreement with bus owners for eliminating lines that compete with the tram and changing others to the status of feeder lines,” he says. The city can order the changes unilaterally, he adds, but prefers to come to an agreement with owners through negotiation.

Zamora says that tram conductors will soon be properly licensed and that liability insurance secured to protect the city in the case of accidents.

5 thoughts on “As city plans for tram start-up, some monthly operating expenses are reduced

  1. I was under the impression that Ecuador was a country under “civil law”, versus “common law” as in the US, which more or less eliminates these common-law lawsuits that clog our US courts, and make people responsible for themselves. I assume that liability insurance is still necessary in this system, even though it would be unlikely that someone would win a huge settlement if they didn’t look before they crossed the street in front of a train and got run over?

  2. REDUNDANCY, you mean they don’t need a person to make sure a job was performed and a person to insure the original person that verified the job did check properly and 16 people in a row to make sure the paperwork is correct. This is a nation that loves redundancy. My first exposure was when i first got here and needed to go to immigration to get some paperwork done and you have to hit 8 different windows and the first thing each person does is check the work previously done before moving on and still someone manages to mess it up. This mayor will remove redundancy…GOOD LUCK

  3. To the tranvia supporters in this crowd…you all are fortunate to have this particular mayor at the helm. Reducing operational costs should help with the fare vs. subsidy ratio. Mayor Palacious seems to understand business economics better than the average politician.
    The tranvia will need a minimum amount of passengers each day/month to remain economically feasible. The only way to make that work is to force people off the bus and onto the train with feeder lines and bus route restrictions. Passengers will be inconvenienced and the bus operators won’t be happy with a loss of income. The private vehicle drivers play an insignificant role in all this because not many Cuencanos are going to park their cars to ride a train. It’s a mistake to think that putting it all together will be easy. It’s too bad that Pedro Palacious wasn’t Cuenca’s mayor back in 2009. Maybe all this heartache would have been avoided.

  4. If they really want to reduce vehicular traffic in El Centro as well as increase tram ridership, they need to provide large parking lots on each end of the system to capture those coming in from outlying areas…that should have been done during the construction phase…park and ride, what a concept.

    1. Park and ride is a logical concept in the gringo world. Here in Cuenca, we’re at least 10 years away from that way of thinking. Driving our private vehicles is more of an important status symbol than even the type of clothes that we wear. Tranvia parking lots might eventually show up, just like Christmas trees and Easter bunnies, but they won’t be free.

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