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City and bus owners make progress in talks to incorporate the tram into transportation system

Following a series of meetings with city officials, the Cuenca Chamber of Transportation (CTC) says the two sides have made “significant progress” toward reaching an agreement for integrating the tram into the public transportation system. The CTC represents owners of the 475 buses that provide service in the Cuenca canton.

Bus owners say they expect to be compensated for losses they suffer when the tram begins operations.

“We still have much work to do for the final plan but we have reached general agreement of how we will proceed,” says Manolo Solís, CTC president. The biggest issue still to be resolved, he added, was the amount of compensation to be paid bus owners for routes that will be eliminated or reduced as a result of tram operation.

Among CTC’s proposals that Solís says the city has agreed to is having a single electronic payment card for both the tram and buses. Previously, tram officials said that the system would begin operation with a separate card due to the expense of converting card readers and software. The single-card system was recommended by César Arias, a public transportation consultant hired by CTC. “There are obstacles on the tram side to changing to a single-payer card but my recommendation is that those be overcome now instead of later,” Arias said.

During talks, the city and CTC agreed that negotiating fair compensation for changes to bus routes was the biggest hurdle yet to be cleared. “Route 100, which is the most heavily traveled in the entire bus system, will be the most affected by the tram,” Solis says. “Eliminating parts of that route as well as making changes to other routes to feed tram service will have a major effect on the income of some bus operators. We expect full compensation for the losses.”

He added: “We made an agreement with the city in 2018 to upgrade the bus fleet — a process that is more than 85 percent complete — and expect the city to respect our investment and negotiate fairly on the losses we will suffer when the tram begins operation.”

Unrelated to negotiations between bus owners and the city is the tram fare, which has yet to be set. Consultants have recommended a price of 35 cents for residents and 38 or 40 cents for tourists, but the municipal council has not made a final decision. Bus fare is 30 cents.

14 thoughts on “City and bus owners make progress in talks to incorporate the tram into transportation system

  1. So how is the tourist going to pay? With coin or purchase a card? If with coin will all coin payers have to show I’d? Seems a multi layer payment system is more of a hassle than it’s worth. Trying to set this up will be additional costs.

    If and it’s a big if that the tram is going to be running in the red just charge 40 cents and be done with it. Once a fare is set we know what happens when you try to raise it later.

    Looking forward to the tram running.

  2. It’s great to see all this moving forward at the speed of a Tranvia and I look forward to see this system in operation, since it should be great for tourism. Tourists will not ride the buses and are sometimes intimidated by the Spanish perceived necessary to move around by taxi. The Tranvia then offers an easily understood system that will allow more people to see more of our wonderful city.

    Given all the “never operate” comments posted up in CHL over the past couple of years, one wonders how this information about operations is being handled by those negatorious people (I made that word up). The reality is that we need to help our City make this work. And, this seems to demonstrate one more positive example of collaboration between our government and our community.

    1. I’m trying to understand the reality of which you speak (write). To help our city and make this work, all we need to do is quit being negatorious? The tranvia will succeed or fail on it’s own merit, regardless of gringo opinion. I’ve always thought that it would someday operate. However, it’s popularity will not increase over time as similar systems do in Europe and in other places. It’s a simple matter of understanding the dynamics of this culture.
      What disturbs me is all the money wasted building this project and the damage that is yet to come – eliminating important bus lines to force people onto the train and then reimbursing those lines using tax dollars. The tranvia will no doubt get certain intimidated tourists from their hotel to Cuenca’s historic district, or to and from the airport. But does that justify the cost/benefit?

  3. Regarding Tourist, As in any major city they will have single trip ticket machines.
    They absolutely need to have a single payment card. They should work on having this
    “Single payment card” work in Taxis as well.

    City buses are almost Useless for Tourists traveling to destinations outside El Centro.
    At least you will know the route of the tram. Been in Cuenca for 3 1/2 years and still can’t remember what number bus goes close to some of my planned destinations. I have just scouted all the bus numbers around my departure and destinations to figure out which bus to take.

    I’m going to Thailand which has buses, subway, and skytrain and they all use a different payment system. What a mess.

    Next the city will be adding a congestion charge for private vehicles in El Centro. If you can afford a car and want Cruise El Centro the congestion charge will go to paying for public transportation projects.

    1. Moovit app is your friend. When we were recently in Cuenca it took a bit to find a place to charge a card, but after that was easy. We went from El Centro to Baños and back without incident. Moovit app was very detailed and accurate with routes and schedules in Cuenca. Today’s travelers are fairly app savvy, I don’t think they’ll have a problem negotiating bus and transvia routes

  4. IF the tranvia ever operates, it is doomed to either fail or to run deeply in the red forever. It is a boondoggle, a project that should never have been undertaken in the first place.

  5. If people can not afford a 40 cent ride what are the chances of them having enough money to pay for a phone that has an app and paying for 3G on their phones.

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