According to Cuenca’s transportation office, educating the public about tranvia rules is essential for keeping accidents to a minimum. “The tranvia is a large, heavy moving vehicle and pedestrians, cyclists and drivers will need to know how to safely maneuver around it,” says Romeo Moncayo, tranvia project manager.
Moncayo’s biggest concern is in the historic district where there will be no barriers between the tram and the public. “Unlike other areas of town, where the tranvia has dedicated lanes and where there are special curbs when it operates on streets, in Centro it will move through an open area on the same level as other activity,” he says. “Everyone will need to understand the operational rules and pay attention to the signals.” The bells and electronic signals are especially important, he says, because the tram is electric and makes little noise.
“In Europe, where tranvias operate in areas similar to El Centro in Cuenca, the educational programs have been successful and we expect the same results here,” Moncayo said.
Although the tram is not yet running, the city will open the section of Gran Colombia from Luis Cordero to Hayna Capac on Wednesday under some of the new rules, which includes a 20 kph (13 mph) top vehicle speed. Only light vehicles will be allowed.
When the tram begins operations early next year, only residents will be allowed to drive on the El Centro streets where it operates, Gran Colombia, Mariscal Lamar, and Sangurima. Business deliveries will only be allowed only at night.
Moncayo said that hours of operation for the tram will be from 5 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily.