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Business campaign aims at reopening, revitalization; Flower market reopens; School bus owners protest; Tram cards go on sale soon

A consortium of business and professional groups gathered Tuesday in the San Luis convent courtyard to announce a campaign to revitalize Cuenca. Called “In Cuenca there are good people”, the campaign aims to show the city’s resolve to overcome the Covid-19 health crisis.

Business leaders met at the San Luis convent courtyard Tuesday to announce a campaign to revitalize Cuenca.

“Our objectives are to emphasize the importance of maintaining the precautions to stop the spread of the virus but also in inspire the pride, strength and dynamism that will lead us back to good health and prosperity,” said Paúl Moreno, campaign director.

A secondary objective, Moreno said, is to encourage officials to continue the reopening process that is underway and to maintain conditions that allow business and social activities to resume under controlled conditions. “The pandemic has generated bad news, fear and depression among Cuenca’s citizens and our message is a positive one, that we must remain strong and press forward with the recovery.”

A number of government officials attended the event, including Mayor Pedro Palacios and Azuay Governor Xavier Martínez, who pledged their support for the campaign goals.

Flower market reopens
Closed for almost four months due to the health emergency, Cuenca’s Plaza de las Flores reopened Tuesday. Located on Calle Mariscal Sucre, opposite the cathedral, the flower market is one of the city’s major tourist attractions. “There are no tourists now so we ask the citizens of the city to visit the market and patronize the vendors who are going back to work,” says Fausto Guillén, market manager.

To reopen their stalls, vendors must show a negative Covid-19 test result. “Not all positions are open since some merchants still need to take the test but we hope to be back to full capacity within two to three weeks,” Guillén says.

Free tram rides end July 24
Free service on Cuenca’s tram system ends in two weeks when passengers will need an electronic card or ticket to come aboard. “We will conclude the 60-day operational test that offered free ridership on July 24 and begin commercial service,” says tram director Carolina Ormaza. “The response from the public has been fabulous and we have had many more riders than we expected. The situation has been complicated by the health emergency, which forced us to overcome obstacles that we did not anticipate.”

Regular passengers will board the trains by swiping a pre-loaded card, paying 35 cents per ride with a discounted fare of 17 cents for those over 65, students and the disabled. There will be the option for $1 single ticket, intended for tourists and infrequent riders as well as a 30-cent fare for those who buy a bundle of tickets. Ormaza said that details about card and ticket purchases will be available next week.

School bus owners protest in Centro
Hundreds of school buses and vans circulated around Parque Calderon on Tuesday, their owners demanding a one-year grace period on loan payments to banks and coops. “The banks are demanding payment and most of us can’t pay,” says van owner Gustavo Iglesias. “We have had no work since March and no income. We are asking the government to negotiate with the banks to delay the obligations. If this doesn’t happen, we go out of business and there is no transportation for students when schools start again.”

9 thoughts on “Business campaign aims at reopening, revitalization; Flower market reopens; School bus owners protest; Tram cards go on sale soon

  1. Do you really want to ride the tram because masks and social distancing is not being adhered to because I have seen it first hand!

    1. Good question. Of course it would behoove an expat to walk to Larga in order to have steak and they don’t pack on any extra pounds from all that butter on their toast..

    2. I predict that after July 24 there will be more social distancing on the tranvia because not so many people will be riding it.

    3. I’ve also seen first hand, the protocol they have implemented is being enforced by the tram workers. The placing of people of the spots they have on the floor to separate people as far as possible. Is being enforced, the workers loading the tram are stopping anyone from getting on if it is to the covid limit.
      What protocols have you witnessed that they aren’t enforcing?

  2. they really need to work on integrating the bus and the Tranvia. not just the routes but the fare too. there should be just one fare paid if you are travelling from Banos to Terminal Terrestre. One bus did it before right (100) ? In future will it be a bus to the Tranvia then from El Centro to Terminal Terrestre on another bus ? 3 fares ?

    1. You are correct, Peter. The 100 line traveled between Banos and the bus terminal. We used that line to begin our bus trips to Machala/El Guabo. There was talk about a free transfer from the Banos bus to the tranvia which travels close to the terminal, but I guess we’ll wait and see how that works out. Eliminating the 100 line cramps our style no matter what.

      1. in Adelaide the train, tram and bus have their card readers synched so that you can go from one to the other without paying again. you get a 2 hour window. I hate quoting how others do things but this has dragged on too long. it goes live in a couple of weeks without a solution. maybe get Palacios to contact Adelaide and get a quote for buying and modifying their system ?

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