ECUADOR DIGESTQuito’s new Metro light rail system will open in 2016

Apr 3, 2013

Cuenca isn’t the only city in Ecuador building a light rail transportation system.

Quito’s Metro Tram project broke gorund in March and is scheduled to open its first metro line by mid 2016. A total investment of $1.4 billion USD, the project will be financed by the City of Quito, the Ecuadorian Government and several international financing sources.

According to Javier Gonzalez, who is coordinating federal funding for both the Quito and Cuenca systems, the new trains will have a revolutionary impact on transportation in Ecuador’s second and third largest cities. “These are the two largest transportation projects in the country’s history. They are truly world class.”

Gonzalez reports that both projects are underway although there are some minor delays due to contract considerations. “Because there is so much money at stake, and because we are dealing with so many contractors during the construction process, it is taking a few more weeks than we anticipated to get the paperwork in order. This could cause minor delays, but nothing major.”

Quito Metro’s first line will have 15 stops or stations while running across town from Quitumbe, located in southern Quito, to El Labrador, in northern Quito. Once complete, it is estimated that Quito’s Metro will transport 375,000 people daily and at average cost of $.50 USD per ride. The Quitumbe-Labrador line will cover an area of 15 miles, an estimated 34 minute ride, and its 15 stations will be located approximately 1 mile apart from one another.

Cuenca’s Tranvia de los Cuatro Rios will cover 21 kilometers and will be built at cost of a quarter billion dollars and be capable of transporting 120,000 passengers a day. It is scheduled to be operational in early 2015.

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World Masters Surfers to compete in Montanita  

At least 130 surfers from 20 countries will take part in the World Masters Surfing Championship (WMSC) from April 6 to 14 in Montanita, according to the country's Sports Ministry.

The top master surfers will represent their teams in an "Olympic-style" event, the ministry said, adding it has undertaken several infrastructure projects to prepare Montanita for the event, which officially kicks off Saturday.

Surfers will compete in divisions according to different age groups for both men and women, who will compete for medals as well as the Eduardo Arena Perpetual Trophy, which will go to the gold-medal winning team.

National teams from Australia, Brazil, France, Japan and South Africa have confirmed their participation in this event, which will see ISA-WMSC gold-medal winner Magnum Martinez compete.

Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador top destinations for Cubans

Over the past two decades, Bolivia, Ecuador and Chile have become new Latin American destinations for Cubans who decide to emigrate, the official weekly Trabajadores reported Monday.

The director of the Center for International Migration Studies in Cuba, Ileana Sorolla, said that traditionally Cuban migration in the region "is oriented toward those nations where the oldest historical settlements exist (Mexico, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Venezuela)."

"And in the past two decades Bolivia, Ecuador (and) Chile" have also been destinations for emigrating Cubans, she added in an interview with Trabajadores.

Sorolla emphasized that "today Cuban migration is, essentially, of an economic character, with labor, seasonal, family manifestations," although she did not provide any figures.

Photo caption: Moving stock for Quito's tram will be provided by Spanish company, Metro Madrid.

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