The Cuenca Transportation Chamber announced yesterday that it is suspending its participation in transportation planning talks with the city claiming the city owes bus companies more than a million dollars in subsidies.
“We have been waiting for months to be paid but have received nothing,” says chamber president Manolo Soliz. “This is one of several breaches of agreements the city has committed and we refuse to be involved in tranvia integration planning until it makes good on its promises.” According to Soliz, the subsidy provides for the reduced fare for students, the disabled and the elderly.
Bus owners are also angry that several municipal councilors are questioning an agreement with the previous city administration that would increase bus fare to 34 cents once the 475-unit bus fleet is replaced with newer models. The chamber says that 85 percent of the buses have been replaced to date.
Cuenca Mayor Pedro Palacios says that talks will continue with or without bus owners but said he will consider the owners’ position. “I have not seen the justification for their claims and have asked for those,” he said. “If necessary, we will make decisions regarding tram and bus integration unilaterlly but we prefer to have the cooperation of the owners.”