CUENCA DIGESTNew speeding regulations put some offenders behind bars

Jul 31, 2012

The new speeding law that went into effect July 25 has resulted in 139 arrests in Cuenca and has landed 18 drivers in jail through the end of the month.

The law, which is enforced with radar and computerized photographic equipment, penalizes all speeders with fines and a deduction of license points, but it imposes a three-day jail sentence on those exceeding speed limits by what police determine are "extraordinary velocities."

The traffic police do not announce the location of radar detectors and cameras but say most arrests so far have occurred on the Autopista Sur, Av. España and Av. Gonzalez Suarez.

Many of those who have been jailed have complained that the new rules are too extreme. “We are not common criminals like the rest of the people in jail,” said one man who was released from jail on Sunday. “This is entirely unfair.”

A police spokeman begged to differ. “Speeding is one of the biggest killers in Cuenca. If we put these offenders in jail maybe they will be more careful the next time they are behind the wheel. It’s too bad that they don’t like it.”

On Tuesday, national police issued a statement reminding drivers that radar detection devices are prohibited by the new traffic control law and those caught using them will be subject to fines. Police also said they would seek to penalize owners of social media sites that report locations of speed traps. One such service in Cuenca, by the way, is Twitter @radaresCUE.

CELL PHONE CHARGES TO BE EQUALIZED BETWEEN SERVICE PROVIDERS

Ecuador’s Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones says it plans to equalize the cost of all cell phone calls within the country, even those made between the accounts of different cell service providers, by the end of the year.

According to Superintendent Fabian Jaramillo, one of the reasons that Ecuador has the most cell phone numbers per capita in Latin America, is because many cell users have accounts with more than one service provider. “This is because the providers charge a higher per-minute rate for calling a number that is serviced by another company,” Jaramillo says. “If charges were the same, no matter what cell phone you called, people would only need one number.”

As part of the new plan, Jaramillo said, an extra digit will be added to all cell phone numbers in the country at the end of September.

TAME OPERATES LOJA TO CUENCA BUS DURING LOJA AIRPORT CLOSURE

Tame Airline is offering its Loja passengers bus service to and from Cuenca during the year-long closure of the Camilo Ponce Enriquez Airport in Catamayo, which serves Loja. There is no charge for Tame customers in Loja who are flying out of Cuenca due to the airport work.

In Loja, buses leave and return to the Terminal Terrestre while they arrive and depart from Mariscal La Mar Airport in Cuenca. The trip takes three to three-and-a-half hours each way. Buses leave Loja and Cuenca twice a day on the following schedule: Loja to Cuenca, 4:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., and Cuenca to Loja at 8:30 p.m. and 5:45 p.m., the times corresponding to flight arrivals and departures in Cuenca.

PLANS CALL FOR IMPROVEMENTS AND EXPASION OF CUENCA’S FOOTBALL STADIUM

Studies are underway to determine the cost of major upgrades to Cuenca’s Alejandro Serrano Aguilar stadium.

José  Cevallos of the provincial sports ministry said that improvements are necessary for Cuenca to host Copa America games, to be played in Ecuador in 2023. “We need to provide high quality venues throughout the country, especially in Quito, Cuenca and Guayaquil.”

Cuenca mayor Paul Granda says he hopes that renovation and expanstion can begin next year. “We need better sports infrastructure not only for the Copa games but for all our games.”

Renovations, if they are approved by the government, would increase stadium seating capactiy from the current 21,000 to 31,000 to 35,000.

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