Cuenca taxi owners and unions have been granted a 51-day extension for the installation and use of taxi meters. They had originally demanded 90 days. Under a new scheduled announced yesterday meters must be in use in all of Cuenca’s 3,600 taxis by May 31. Police will begin ticketing those not in compliance on June 8.
Transit authority manager Dario Tapia also announced that the meters would be set to current fares and that when new fares are agreed to, meters will be adjusted. “We have to use the rates we have in place now since we have no idea when a new rate schedule will be approved.”
Messiah Vicuña, secretary of the Taxi Drivers Union, said his members will abide by the new schedule but objected to using current fares. “Those rates are 14 years old and it seems fair to me that we wait to have rates that reflect the economic situation today,” he said.
According to Tapia, even with the current fare schedule, fares will be slightly higher because time as well as distance will be calculated by the meters. “Idle time,” such as time spent stalled in traffic or at a red light will be charged at three cents for every 43 seconds.
Under the new arrangements, all meters will start at 46 cents. Minimum fares will be $1.14 during the day and $1.36 at night.