The National Transportation Agency and national police arrested a dozen drivers of 7- and 8-passenger vans on Friday, claiming they were operating without proper licensing and unfairly competing with bus companies. The arrests were made in Cuenca and Guayaquil.
In the Cuenca area, vans taking passengers to Machala and Loja were stopped near Tarqui, the drivers arrested and the vans impounded. Other vans, headed for Guayaquil, were stopped near Cajas National Park. Passengers were taken off the vans and returned to Cuenca or put on buses to continue to their destinations.
The police action was the result of an agreement with unions representing drivers of large buses and bus company owners who said that the van services were depriving them of 500 passengers daily. The drivers and owners threatened road closures if the vans were not stopped. Bus companies have complained for years that the vans were not properly licensed for passenger service and did not pay the fees and insurance required of bus operators.
On Saturday morning in Cuenca, six passenger van service companies located on Av. Remigio Crespo were either closed or said they were not operating.
NETFLIX MOVIE SERVICE IS NOW OPERATING IN ECUADOR
The U.S.-based Internet movie distributor Netflix has begun opartions in Ecuador.
The company offers movies on a fee basis that can be downloaded to Windows-based PCs, Macintoshes and Playstation 3s.
For more information about Latin American Netflix services check the Netflix Twitter account at (@ NetflixLAT) or go the Netflix website, www.netflix.com.
WEATHERMAN BLAMES ECUADOR'S COOL WEATHER ON PERU
Temperatures four to five degrees below seasonable averages are the result of cold air moving north from Peru, according Ecuador's national weather service. The cool temperatures have delayed air travel in Quito and Cuenca and have caused icing conditions on highways in the Cajas Mountains west of Cuenca. Snow as deep as two feet fell in the Cajas last week.
Weather service spokesman Alejandro Terán says the phenomenon, vaguada de Peru, occurs several times a decade and covers Ecuador with cooler air. Terán says the cool air should move out by the third week of September and temperatures will return to seasonal norms.
In the first two weeks of September, Cuenca has recorded low temperatures of 40 and 41F, while Riobamba and Ambato have seen temperatures of 30 and 32F.
August and early September is the coolest time of the year in the southern Andes, including Cuenca. September usually sees a warm up that lasts until March.