The city of Cuenca and public bus owners have agreed to use the same Mobilize transit card for both the tram and buses. The agreement paves the way for full integration of the two systems, with buses providing a “feeder” service for the train.
“This is an important first step to fully coordinate the bus and tram systems to provide the best service to the people of Cuenca,” tram director Carolina Ormaza said Friday. “In the early stages, the two systems will collect fares separately and we will begin with separate cards but we will consolidate to one card in near the future with a unified accounting system.”
She added that the card will be used for Cuenca’s public bicycle rental service and for any public transportation services added in the future.
The new Mobilize will cost passengers $1.75.
Also on Friday, the city announced that the tram will be free to passengers for another two months. Under the original plan, the free service was set to end this weekend. “We made the decision for two reasons,” Ormaza said. “First, we would like to provide eight more weeks of training for the conductors and second, this will give us the time to work out any problems with the card payment system.”
The additional free-fare period will also provide more time for passengers to become acquainted with the tram, she said.
Municipal Councilman Xavier Barrera, who heads the council’s transportation committee, welcomed the agreement, saying it took far longer than anticipated. “The process to reach this point has been frustrating but we all relieved that we finally have an agreement. From the day the tram project was announced, the idea has been to create an efficient, integrated transit system to serve the public and now we can begin building that system.”