City council will make final decision on new taxi fares

Sep 11, 2014

Taxi fare committee fails to reach agreement

The committee appointed to develop a new taxi fare schedule failed to reach a consensus during a Wednesday afternoon meeting and sent the Cuenca city council three proposals, representing the positions of consumers, taxi drivers and government officials. The city council will make the final decision on new fares.

Once observer at the meeting commented: “The difference in the three proposals is big enough to drive a taxi through.”

Consumer representatives on the committee want a starting fare of $1.04, a 10 cent reduction from the current fare, based on a two-year-old study by Cuenca’s Salesian University. Government representatives support a $1.39 fare proposed by a recent study by the University of Cuenca, while representatives of the taxi companies want $2.03, based on their own research.

At several points during yesterday’s meeting, consumer and taxi company representatives were involved in heated exchanges and Alfredo Aguilar, city transportation director, decided that no agreement could be reached by the committee. “We will forward all three options to the council,” he said.

He added that he regretted that the findings of the University of Cuenca study could not be used as the basis for discussion. The committee had contracted with a team of university consultants at a cost of $14,000.

Messiah Vicuña, taxi company representative, called the committee a “waste of time,” and said that both the Salesian and University of Cuenca studies failed to consider all the costs associated with operating taxi cabs.

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