A survey released last week showing widespread dissatisfaction with Cuenca bus service was “rigged and prejudiced” according to a spokesman for bus owners.
The survey conducted by opponents of an increase in bus fares, presented to Cuenca Mayor Marcelo Cabrera, maintained that only 13% of 2,500 respondents rated bus service as good.
“It’s really a joke considering who produced it,” said Milton Wilches of Cuenca Integrated Transport System Committee (CITS). “They obviously have their point of view and we have ours. Any survey on the subject would have to be conducted by a neutral party if it is to be taken seriously.
The survey presented to the mayor was compiled by associations of high school and university students as well as the Federation of Barrios de Cuenca, all opponents of a fare increase from the current 25 cents. The survey showed that 22 percent of riders say bus service is poor and 59% say it is fair.
Cuenca municipal council members Dora Ordonez and Ivan Granda are backing the results of the survey.
Wilches’ organization is pushing for a 42 cent bus fare, which he says simply catches up to inflation. The 25 cents fare was established in 2002.
“Our buses are in poor repair and many need to be replaced,” says Wilches. “We also need more resources to improve service and to train our drivers. The city says we need better equipment and better service and to do this we will need more money.” The private bus companies that provide municipal service operate 480 buses and provide about 400,000 rides a day.
Wilches adds: “Under the current circumstances bus companies are very limited in the upgrades and improvements they can make.”