Cuenca taxi companies want fare hike, will conduct study to propose new schedule

Jun 8, 2017 | 13 comments

The organization representing Cuenca taxi companies and independent taxi drivers says it is time to raise fares. Citing a 2014 agreement with the city transportation office to review fares every two years, the United Front of Taxis says it is looking for a consultant to determine a new fare schedule.

Cuenca taxi fares have not changed since 2014.

In 2014, when the municipal council mandated the use of taxi meters, it set minimum fares at $1.39 for daytime rides and $1.67 for nighttime.

“We are behind schedule in conducting the review,” according to Patricio Padilla, United Front president. “Since the city has not taken the initiative to consider a fare increase, we will have to do it ourselves.” Padilla says his organization will present the results of its study to the council and demand that it be considered. Fare increases must also receive approval from the National Transit Agency (ANT).

Although Padilla is not suggesting a new rate, members of the organization have voted to seek a $2 minimum fare.

In addition to a fare adjustment, Padilla wants the municipal council to enact stronger rules to control informal taxi service and internet-based companies from entering the market. Companies such as Uber, which respond to cell phone requests, are beginning to enter the market in many mid-sized South American cities, according to Padillia. “We want to keep them out of Cuenca,” he says.

Two national taxi organizations are also pushing for fare increases in major cities. Taxi drivers protested last week in Guayaquil, disrupting traffic on major arteries.

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