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Cuenca’s tram may roll by the end of the year — but that could change

For the first time since taking office, Cuenca’s new city government is suggesting a start-up schedule for operation of the city’s beleaguered tram system – the end of the year. The tram director, Carolina Ormaza, cautions however, that operations could be pushed back to early 2020.

Tram cars sit idle in the main rail yard on Av. Mexico.

According to Ormaza, three major obstacles must be overcome before the trains roll. “The most important is having a maintenance contract in effect and we are currently in the negotiation process for this,” says. “There are three companies interested but Alstom of France is the clear favorite since they built the system and have many years of experience in maintaining their own work.”

Ormaza estimates that a five-year maintenance contract will cost the city $19 million.

The second issue to be resolved is the training and credentialing of the train conductors. “Some of this work was done during the previous administration but several things were left unresolved like the proper licensing of the operators and having liability insurance in place,” Ormaza says. “Because of the inactivity for much of the year, additional live training will be required.”

The third obstacle to resolve, Ormaza says, is the resolution of contract disputes with construction contractors, the ACTN and CITA consortiums. The disputes are currently in mediation but she hopes they can be resolved within one to two months.

In addition to the three main areas of concern, Ormaza says that other problems must be addressed. “During the down-time of the last four months, vehicles and pedestrians have started invading the train tracks again so we must resume the public education program. In addition, we must reach an agreement with the public bus companies and clean the tracks of debris.”

Ormaza says that it would be “irresponsible” to announce an exact start date until all problems are resolved. “The situation remains fluid and changeable and, at this point, we can only say we are aiming for full operations by the end of this year or possibly early next year.”

35 thoughts on “Cuenca’s tram may roll by the end of the year — but that could change

  1. Wow, $19 million for 5 years. Roughly $315K per month, or $73K per week, or $10K per day.
    Sounds like a scam. Bigger than the moon landing. At these prices, I would think Al Capone, and Dutch Schultz handed in these bids. Maybe Stanley Kubrick can come in as a consultant.
    50 cents per ride was talked about a few years ago. No way; it will be $1.50, easy. Maybe more.
    This tram will go nowhere, and some local wealthy family will come in and buy it up at 10 cents on the dollar, and then run it. This was planned out 10 years ago.

        1. Larry – I’m not giving you any opportunities to recoup your $100 that you know you’re going to lose on our other bet. The one where you bet me $100 that Trump will definitely be a two-term president. Sorry. 🙂
          But I will buy you an IPA at the Inca Lounge today!

          World class cites all have electric-powered public transit systems and all transit is subsidized with taxes whether that be public transit, highways, roads, or sidewalks.
          The future of transportation is electric.
          The Tranvia will put Cuenca on the map with one of the first catenary-free trams in all of the Americas.

          1. The tram is great, but being it catenary-free is not smart. Now Cuenca can only buy new trams from Alstom. A typical case of vendor lock-in.

          2. Cuenca is not a world class city.

            “subsidized with taxes”….typical leftist talking points…..awful.

            I’ve been trying to get more folks to take my bet on the re-election of President Trump. NO ONE has the guts to do it. His re-election is a shoo-in; he’ll probably carry 47 states. Of course, the dull pencils in California, Hawaii and New York will obviously vote for the socialcommunist agendas.

            My $100 offer regarding the tranvia boondoggle has nothing to do with President Trump. Why do insecure folks always have to involve this great patriot in every discussion?

            1. I’ll take you up on the bet that Trump won’t win a second term. But $100 is too paltry a sum. Let’s make it $1,000. How sure are you really?

      1. In other words, at 35 cents per day, and assuming a $19 million, five year maintenance contract, it would take 29,742 riders per day simply to cover the maintenance contract. Add in all the other costs and this project is doomed.

        Remove the tracks and make the green spaces into pedestrian walkways.

          1. Correct, most issues are resolved in pubs. Golf courses too; many of the world’s great issues are discussed and resolved on golf courses.

            1. So that’s why the orange menace has played 229 rounds of golf after telling the world during his campaign that he would be too busy to play golf. Who knew?

  2. The tranvia project is a huge boondoggle. It would be laughable if it weren’t so sad. All parties to the entire project have been inept, including the current ones. Corruption all around.

    1. I agree with inept. Corruption is terrible–any proof, or just talking? Thought CHL was stopping comments like that. . .

  3. According to UNESCO and some of their suggestions about upholding some of the requirements in the initial world heritage site award, the Tranvia is necessary. That and getting rid of the diesel coughing buses and closing much of El Centro to vehicular traffic. This will firmly poise Cuenca as a true international tourist destination, and make it a more lovely place for those of us who choose to live there. So whatever corruption exists needs to be rectified so that the city can move on with becoming what it can become for the future. Suggestions that the Travia is the “folly” of the expats who wanted it to connect Gringolandia to the rest of the city are counterproductive, as is much of the political “bitching”. And the moon landing was real, in case you didn’t get the memo.

    1. You’re correct about the moon landing.

      BTW, vaccines are great for children and there is nothing nefarious about chem trails.

      1. Faulty logic. How could there be anything nefarious about something that doesn’t exist——— like chemtrails?

    2. The original “the moon landing was faked” character, Hiram Fong, aka Abel Garraghan, etc, is the same guy that insisted over and over that he had driven on the super highway across the Darién Gap. That should tell you all you need to know.

  4. Seems the best course of action would be for the government employees responsible for such mess to have to take the Education Program, while in the local prison. Maybe they could resume the use of all of their private cars and drivers to get there. I can also foresee the need for them to attend a 1 minute class on how to buy a whole new Tram every couple of weeks rather than spending our funds on the proposed “maintenance contract”. Jeeez, if we spent our money on this, I wonder how many city employees will miraculously obtain new homes in the next year?

  5. Doesn’t sound like a fantastic deal,
    But it does reflect the north american business model:

    “you want something? …. You will pay dearly for it,
    either up front, or over the long term just to keep it.”

    Example 1:

    A large multinational corporation in the U.S. this year (2019)
    Solicited bids to renovate ( 2 ) bathrooms in one building, in a facility they own,
    in the new England region.

    So we are talking 8 toilets, 8 sinks, ceramic tiles etc.
    Do some quick math in your head, how much would
    Those items cost you at the local Home Depot.
    Now, what do you think the
    average bid from outside companies to do the work was? … $ 100,000.00 !!!

    Example 2:

    You buy a “premium level” car in the U.S.
    …. Let’s say you got a fantastic deal and took it home for $45,000.00

    The 10,000 mile service is Engine oil change, Air Filters changed, Rotate the tires.
    Those Items can be bought at the local auto parts store for $100
    …. may be a little less with coupons.

    Now, what do you think the average dealer charges for the “service”?
    … $500-600.00 !!!

    It makes no sense what so ever, but that is the world we live in. Sadly.

    1. But – The Tranvia will never need the oil changed, or new engine air filters, or have any need to rotate the tires! 🙂 🙂

    2. Ridiculus examples, you give no context to either example, ,,, bathrooms in what, a luxury hotel,,, , you buy a luxury car, they are notoriously expensive to maintain,,,

      in either case they could reject the bid, so you make no sense what so ever sorry to say, if I want a $45K car I do not expect chevy priced repairs

      1. The one that is Ridiculous is you, dear Pixelvt.

        You state that I gave “no context” .. ???

        ———–
        This is what I wrote:

        “A large multinational corporation in the U.S. this year (2019)
        Solicited bids to renovate ( 2 ) bathrooms in one building, in a facility they own,
        in the new England region.”

        Corporate IP laws dictate that I will not tell you :
        What the company name is, nor what is produced in the facility.
        Frankly it is none of your business.
        …& no, it’s a manufacturing environment

        Where did you get “Luxury Hotel” from? ….. you are Ridiculous.

        ———

        This is what I wrote:

        “You buy a “premium level” car in the U.S.
        …. Let’s say you got a fantastic deal and took it home for $45,000.00”

        Look up some MSRP’s for “Premium Level” cars ,
        Here let me help you:

        Volvo S90 starting $47,350
        Lexus GS starting $46,860
        Infinity Q50 Sport starting $48,050

        Where did you get “Luxury Car” from? ….. you are Ridiculous.

        ———
        You talk about “Chevy priced repairs”…
        Yet you are blinded by your own internet hate:

        The “Chevy priced repairs” would be Cuencano bus drivers
        changing out their own Engine Oil they bought at Mansuera.

        The “Premium car” repairs would be the City of Cuenca
        (which has no clue how to maintain a new Train) getting
        Scheduled maintenance done.

        Think twice before going on the attack next time,
        Otherwise you will reveal even more of your nonsense.

      2. You talk about “Chevy priced repairs”…
        Yet you are blinded by your own internet hate:

        The “Chevy priced repairs” would be Cuencano bus drivers
        changing out their own Engine Oil they bought at Mansuera.

        The “Premium car” repairs would be the City of Cuenca
        (which has no clue how to maintain a new Train) getting
        Scheduled maintenance done.

        1. Apparently what has been removed is your patience. When you post, it can take hours for your post to actually appear. Take a chill pill and wait for your nonsense to be posted for public view.

  6. The tram director might just be blowing smoke – more stall tactics. She may be attempting to distract our attention from the biggest obstacle of all – once the tranvia is up and running, will there be adequate demand for it’s service? Maybe that’s why all the planners are scratching their heads these days. Though the tranvia was poorly planned from the very beginning, it will be the current administration that takes the blame if it fails.

    1. The Route of the Tranvia services – on the East end – the Industrial Park (how many people work there?), then the Airport, then the Terminal Terrestre/main Bus Station, Then all of El Centro from East to West, then The 9 de Octubre Mercado, then the heavy residential area of Gran Colombia to AV Americas, then the heavy commercial corridor of AV Americas which includes Cuenca’s largest market – Arenal (Feria Libre) + the other Bus Station – also known as the Arenal Station.
      That’s what I call good planning.
      This Light-Rail system travels mostly on dedicated right of way – making it faster than taxi, bus, or car.
      It is quiet. It has no exhaust pipe. And It loads at sidewalk height with zero step up making it the first wheelchair and bicycle friendly transit in Cuenca.
      Obviously, ridership will not start at peak capacity. It will take time for riders to join the club.

  7. Even if they Cuenca get all the lingering issues resolved enough to put the tram in service, it will still be and economic flop. Heavy price to pay just for a ticket in the “world class” section. May need to call IL in to blow more smoke so the believers will feel better.

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