Although the National Transit Agency has set December 31 as the deadline for installing meters in the country’s taxis, the lack of a new rate schedule will delay the implementation of the new system in Cuenca for two to three months.
A commission of taxi companies, citizens and government officials has been granted a delay until a new rate schedule is approved. Carlos Fernández de Córdova, manager of the Cuenca mobility authority, says the installation of meters in the city’s 3,600 taxis can proceed but they may not be activated until March. “Once we have the new schedule, the new meter requirements will be enforced intensively,” he says.
During commission discussions taxi companies have pushed for larger rate increases, saying that the current schedule was adopted 11 years ago and does account for inflation and taxi maintenance costs. Citizens on the commission want smaller increases, claiming that taxi drivers have not followed the old schedule, with many charging as much as double established rates. Both citizen and government members of the commission say that the new schedule should be widely publicized, which they point out, is not the case currently.
One requirement of the new meter system is that taxi drivers be able to provide receipts to passengers requesting them. It is an order from the Ecuadorian IRS and is not negotiable, commission members say.