A Cuenca committee reviewing new taxi fares says that new federal rules prevent it from deciding on fares proposed by a University of Cuenca consulting team. Taxi owners and some committee members were angered by the new delay of at least 15 days.
It was not clear how the new rules, issued by the National Transit Agency (ANT) after the consulting team began its work, will affect the proposed fares. Committee member and ANT representative Marina Velozo said the rules require a new formula for determining taxi fares that the consultants may not have used it. She said she had not seen the forumula and that it would require further study before the committee could make a final decision.
Velozo said she could deliver an analysis of the new formula in 15 days. “If it turns out that the university consultants did not violate the forumula, there may be no significant changes to their work,” she said. “Until we fully understand the the new formula, we cannot know this.”
Taxi drivers, who were expecting a final committee decision, reacted angrily to the delay. Messiah Vicuña, General Secretary of the Azuay Drivers Union, said the taxi drivers had waited 45 days for the results. “This is an insult and I cannot tell my members to wait another 15 days,” he said.
Committee member and city transportion department manager agreed that the delay was “regrettable,” but added that it was known during the time the consultants were researching new fares that the government might change the rules. “Once we have all the information, we will move as quickly as possible to send a committee decision to the city council for final approval,” he said.
The committee’s citizen representative, Juan Bustillos, said he welcomed the delay. “In my opinion, the consultants study depended too much on the taxi drivers’ point of view and not enough on that of taxi users,” he said. “I thought the new fares were too high.”
Photo caption: The committee considering new taxi fares adjorned yesterday without making a decision; Photo credit: El Tiempo.