Cuenca’s first Megamaxi opens in new mall late this year; New tram cards go on sale; City begins new crackdown on motorcycle infractions; A dog’s tale
Hola, Todos –
El Tranvía tiene dos pendientes (The Tranvía has 2 pending issues) – Marcelo Toral Roura, the new director of the Tranvía announced that he expects to receive a batch of 20,000 Movilízate cards in the first 15 days of junio. The cards will go on sale immediately since the previous lot had run out and there was a delay in the contract signed by the previous administration. In the next few weeks, the Tranvía is planning on having another 60,000 cards which should meet the demand for this year and into the next year. With a card, the normal Tranvía fare is $.35 and half for the disabled, seniors and students. Without the cards, riders were forced to buy single ride tickets at $1.00. The new cards will be sold at 5 points set up by the Municipality along the Tranvía route. To buy a new card, users need to show their cedulas. <Sorry, tourists and newbies, you’ll need to keep buying the one ride, dollar tickets.>
Torál noted that fares can also be paid with virtual tickets on an app with 3 savings and loan cooperatives: JEP, CREA, and Jardín Azuayo. Cooperco is in the process of getting this app. Since it started operating commercially in septiembre, 2020, 160,000 cards have been sold, but only 45,000 are in frequent use.
The 2nd pending issue is that of integrating the Tranvía with the buses and this is one of the main retos (challenges — your word for the day) of the new administration. <Not that is a new challenge — neither of the last two administrations was up to this challenge.> Toral said that the Tranvía is not the one doing the integration, but it is just another operator that integrates itself into a transport system including other transportation modes such as the public bicycles. The integration would include a collection and information system as well as a business plan and a set of business rules.
Currently the Tranvía carries an average of 20,000 riders a day, and according to data from the previous administration, it earns $2,643,994 and spends $4,446,808. Toral confirmed that the insurance policy for the Tranvía which expired in 2022, has been extended, and a the bidding process for a new policy needs to start urgently.
Titulo de El Mercurio del domingo, 28/5:
Aluvión en Barabón dejo 25 damnificados (Flood in Barabón affected 25 people) – A mass of mud and rocks slid off the mountain in the Lirio sector of Barabón displacing 25 people from 5 houses. The families were able to escape from their homes, but not able to save anything. Witnesses said that the mud flowed past the houses like a river. Cuenca firefighters helped the victims to get to the houses of families and neighbors who were in a safe area or to shelters. They also inspected the area of the slide with drones.
Corporación Favorita abrirá primer Megamaxi (Favorita Corporation to open first Megamaxi) – The new commercial center and first Megamaxi in Cuenca will open towards the end of 2023 on av. 24 de mayo y 10 de agosto in the Colinas de Paraíso sector. The 52,000 sq. meter shopping center will also include subsidiaries of the Corporación Favorita such as Maxitec, MegaKywi, Sukasa, Tatoo, TVentas, Librimundi, and Juguetón. There will also be a gym, financial institutions, food locations, and others. The investment on this project is $30 million, divided between land, the commercial area, 3 levels of parking for 751 cars, road improvements, and jobs. Between MegaMaxi and all the affiliated businesses, 300 direct jobs will be generated along with another 1,500 indirect jobs. The MegaMaxi is constructed under LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) standards. The center will also include a Punto GIRA where people can recycle 10 kinds of materials.
En Cuenca se intensifican operativos de motocicletas (Cuenca intensifies motorcycle operations) – EMOV is carrying out permanent motorcycle controls to reduce traffic accidents, most of which involve motorcycles. Gustavo Toledo, manager of Control de Tránsito at EMOV, explained these operations focus on prevention and education and will be done by civilian agents of the Tránsito de Cuenca. He said that accidents were caused by not respecting traffic signage such as stoplights and stop signs, speeding, and inappropriate use of protective equipment such as helmets.
He said that at each operation, EMOV agents retained motos for expired registrations, not having license plates, bald tires, no lights, no rearview mirrors, and failures in the mechanical system. Toledo also said that EMOV will coordinate with the Policía Nacional to counteract assaults from motos by conducting frequent controls in areas where crimes such as robbing passers-by are frequently committed. An EMOV spokesperson reminded moto riders that helmets save lives, but too many riders prefer to carry their helmets hanging from the handlebars or sitting on the gas tank, but not on their heads.
According to EMOV data, there were 300 motorcycle accidents in 2022 with 327 injuries and 16 deaths. Also in 2022, 5,797 motos were impounded. Through abril of 2023, there were 85 motorcycle accidents reported with 97 injuries and 5 deaths. In the same time period, 2,043 motos were impounded. This month EMOV started a campaign about the correct use of traffic lanes for motorcyclists. <You know the area between the curb and white or yellow lines you’re supposed to stay within? I wonder how some of these moto drivers got their licenses. I guess they bought them like too many gringos have .> According to transit personnel, accidents happen when bikers pass and block another vehicle, invade other lanes, and pass in prohibited zones. <Maybe bikers don’t believe that size matters when you’re refusing to share the road correctly.>
De El Mercurio del domingo, 28/5 (1 article):
‘Ramírez’, un mascota que cuativa en diversos lugares (Ramirez’, a captivating, roaming pet) – <This article is an exception to the “news is depressing” rule.> Ramírez is a mutt who rides on buses between Azuay and Cañar and is the guardian of the Unidad Educativa Gualaceo. He is known as Manchas on the streets of Gualaceo. Karla Orellana, vice-principal of the school in Gualaceo said that he and two other dogs came to the school in 2020 before the pandemic. The school was closed in febrero, and the dogs disappeared. Two years later, when the school reopened in febrero of 2022, Ramírez reappeared. His packmates had died, one from being run over, and the other poisoned. No one know who Ramírez’s owners were and he became the school’s guardian where he is much loved by the students, teachers and neighbors. So much so, that there is a mural of him on one of the school walls. Orellana said that he comes to school at 6:40 and enters with the students and then he leaves at 18:20 for the streets in downtown Gualaceo. During the school day he participates in the students’ activities including a sports competition in Chordeleg and running marathons with them. At night he sleeps on different streets.
In marzo of 2023 he disappeared again. He was seen in the area of the Universidad Politécnica Salesiano and finally found in the Tarqui parish. There, when he saw his caregivers, he spun around in excitement. Everyone knows that Ramírez follows the students including onto parish and intercantonal buses. Then he winds up in strange places and gets back after a few days thanks to social networks and the ID on his collar. Luis Vásquez, a student, said Ramírez is a permanent visitor to the ‘Tostón’ restaurant in downtown where he is very spoiled by the owner. <Maybe gringos should follow dogs to restaurants as well as across streets.> Bus drivers are asked not to let Ramírez on their buses because he’s quite a wanderer and might get permanently lost one day.
Ad for Umbrella Inti 10K – The first race for those who respect the sun, 11/6/2023 – register at www.inti10k.com – proceeds go to SOLCA Cuenca – runners get an official T-shirt, runners’ kit, and accident insurance.
And that’s all for today so hasta ? –