Container crisis hikes Christmas toy prices; Another bus crash kills 9 on Amazonia highway; Beware of ‘ghost cars’ at night; City bus stops deteriorate

Dec 21, 2021 | 5 comments

Lunes, 20/12/2021

Hola, Todos –

Actividades –

Titular –

Tibia navidad para el comercio (A lukewarm Christmas for retail) – After a 25% decrease in Christmas sales in 2020, the international container crisis is slowing recovery along with a lack of resources that is still confronting Ecuadorian housenholds. Between febrero 2020 and now, the cost of shipping a container has risen over 500% from an average of $2,000 to $15,000. On top of the lack of containers is congestion in ports, mostly in Asia. The pandemic restrictions have affected loading and unloading vessels, creating delays in the movement of products and limiting imports and exports. According to the Cámara de Comercio de Quito (Quito Chamber of Commerce), the price of toys has risen 33%. Roberto Billagui, manager of Estuardo Sánchez, one of the biggest marketers in the country, said that the wholesale segment was the most affected with losses of about 25%.

Cuenca bus stops are plastered with old signs and graffiti. (El Mercurio)

Another effect of the slowing of economic reactivation is that employment which normally increases 40% during this season increased by 0% this year. < Do you think that all of this is an subtle and indirect way for Pachamama to tell us that we really don’t need all this stuff – which will soon be landfill – in our lives?>

Cuenca –

Paradas de bus en deterioro (Deteriorating bus stops) – Dozens of bus stops in the city are deteriorated, marked with illegible writing, and covered with torn flyers and posters. Users are complaining with one rider saying that users have a corresponsibility, but maintenance is also necessary. There are over 500 bus stops in the city with 400 the responsibility of the Letrasigma company which signed a 12 year contract with EMOV EP in 2013. The contract was extended in 2019 for another 5 years until 2030. Letrasigma was responsible for installing and maintaining the stops with revenue from ad sales. The city sent Letrasigma a 2nd notice on 16/12 giving them 10 days to take corrective action. If this does not happen, the city will start a unilateral termination of the contract and take over maintenance of the 400 stops as it already does for 112 stops which are mainly in rural parishes.

Councilman Diego Morales said there was a meeting with EMOV EP at which one of the ideas raised was to increase the budget of the Empresa Municipal de Movilidad for the next year to repair the stops. Another idea was to have businesses assume the responsibility for the stops since there is interest. As to the rural stops, the deficiencies should be addressed by the GADs. <I hope the City doesn’t forget to take control of the advertising contracts when it takes back the responsibility for maintenance.>

Carros “fantasmas” son un peligro (“Ghost” cars are a danger) – It is common to see cars circulating at nights with their lights off. Some drivers forget to turn them on while others just don’t want to. <And then there was the story in the US that cars with their lights off were driven by gangbangers who would shoot anyone who blinked their lights to let the “ghost” car know its lights were off.> The law says that lights should be on from 18:00-6:00. Exceptions are that lights should be on when it’s foggy or rainy as a safety measure for visibility to other cars. Driving with lights off is a 6th class infraction punishable with a fine of 10% of the SBU. Driving without lights, lights in bad condition or burned out, and not using directional lights to signal a turn is punishable with a 15% fine. <Now stopping cars for not using turn signals could be a real money maker for the city.> The article also has a sidebar that details what a car needs in terms of the kinds of lights and their locations. <If this weren’t specified, I’m sure there’d be testosterone poisoned individuals who’d install brake lights that cycled through more colors than Cuenca’s Christmas tree.>

Sucesos –

Accidente de bus intercantonal que cubría la ruta Macas-Taisha (Accident involving an inter-cantonal bus covering the route Macas-Taisha) – A new bus accident has left 9 people dead and 14 injured. A Cooperativa Rayo de Luna bus went off the bridge over the río Colorado and rolled about 150 meters into a ravine. Several agencies responded and took the injured to hospitals in Macas. Preliminary information said the intercantonal bus covered the Macas-Taisha route. <Now this is definitely not the pre-pandemic normal I wanted to see come back. An example of be careful what you wish for?>

Region –

Tramo Sústag-Soldados “intransitable” (Sústag-Soldados stretch “undriveable”) – In spite of maintenance work done only 4 months ago, the stretch of road from Sústag to Soldados is again full of potholes. People who use this route to get to Guayas are asking for a major intervention. This road connects San Joaquín with Chaucha and then to the La Iberia and Abdón Calderón sectors which are in Guayas. The first 14.6 km. from San Joaquín to the ETAPA potable water treatment plant is asphalt. The next 16 km. is a dirt road next to the río Yanuncay as far as Soldados. People in the area are calling for coordinated repairs with the parishes of San Joaquín and Chaucha. The provincial administration has signed an agreement with San Joaquín parish junta to make repairs jointly.

And that’s all for today so hasta ? –