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El Centro merchants complain about tram delay

Tram units sit idle at the Av. Mexico train yard. (El Tiempo)

Historic district store owners are objecting to the new city government’s delay in the start of tram operations. Last week, Mayor Pedro Palacios said it could be as much as seven months before the train begins passenger service.

“We have waited for years for this project to finished, we have suffered and seen our friends go out of business, and now they tell it will be months more before operations begin,” says Luis Delgado, a tienda owner on Mariscal Lamar. “This is not acceptable and we demand expedited attention.”

City planning director Jorge Espinoza says the delay is the result of unfinished administrative issues that must be resolved before the train can open to the public. “The seven month figure of the delay is an estimate and we hope we can resolve the issues sooner,” he said. “We learned from the mistakes of the last administration and will not provide exact dates of when operations will begin.”

Among the issues to be resolved, according to Espinoza, is the resolution of a dispute with the contractor that is currently in mediation, the passage of safety ordinance and tram fare by the municipal council, the integration of bus service with the tram and the signing of a maintenance contract. “These should have been resolved before now but they were not,” he says.

Delgado says that meetings are planned in the coming weeks and his group plans meetings with city officials to determine how the beginning of tram operations can be speeded up. “We will talk before we protest but we insist on getting action,” he says.

Municipal councilman Xavier Barrera agrees that the seven-month delay suggested by Palacios is too long. “Yes, there are things to be resolved but I think this can happen in a much shorter timeframe. I understand the frustration of the merchants. This is an issue that the council will consider.”

32 thoughts on “El Centro merchants complain about tram delay

  1. But “Marcelo the Incompetent” said he did a wonderful job and everything was hunky dory.
    Surely, he wasn’t fibb’in…….was he?

  2. Send a side rail to the dump or a playground for the children to dream on. It is just a money sponge that never stops sucking! It is like a dead rat in the floor boards.
    Show you have some guts and get rid of it.
    Admitting your mistakes is always difficult.
    For most, recognizing that this pig will always be a burden demanding constant subsidies is over their IQ levels. Scrap it Now. Enough money has been wasted. Buy electric busses and control the pollution with the money you save. The citizens deserve this for their and their children’s health.

    1. I don’t agree and I think if you took a survey, many would not agree with your opinion. The city already has a plan for electric buses for 2025 without scraping the tram.

      1. with the Tranvia and electric buses we will have the solution to all of the pollution … except for cars and people burning off in the suburbs. Proudamerican stays anonymous and quotes all of the Cuencanos that hate the Tranvia but he doesn’t seem to think wasting $350 million dollars is a problem. If you sell all of the trams you wouldn’t get anywhere near enough money to revert the streets back to solely car and bus traffic. so much infrastructure has been put in place for the Tranvia.

        1. Denis, so if I understand you correctly you are incapable of addressing the ongoing loss of millions of dollars keeping this dead horse moving? It won’t stop! It will be a continuing money pit, or so says the government, that will always need lubricating with money. Savy? I don’t think you see the picture here. Trashing 350 million to save as much over the next 5 years is a bargain. Mark it up as a bad decision that didn’t cost the politicians anything but cost the taxpayers everything. Then go out and buy electric busses so the pollution problem is being addressed and service is enhanced for the public.
          Maybe you can tell me what an acceptable loss per year would be for the tram, go ahead and round it off in millions of dollars.

        2. it was a bad idea from the start. Seems like the planning was handled by the 3 Stooges

    2. Right on!!
      Unfortunately, governments being what they are, are universally incapable of understanding a commonsense approach like the one you have described.
      Oh well!

    3. The politicians are going to keep milking it for ever. They don’t care about the people or the pollution. It’s a never ending circus of greed.

    4. The plural of “bus” is ‘buses.’ The word “busses” is the plural of buss, a kiss. Using “busses” as the plural of “bus” has been out of favor for over a century.

      1. I agree it isn’t the best spelling but it is a correct spelling. I guess I stand corrected since there is a better spelling.
        I am not sure why you wanted to point this out but if it makes you feel better, I am happy for you.
        Just curious, what did you think about my comment?

    5. The tranvia actually has a lot of fans, go onto their Facebook page (40K likes which at least means a lot of people follow their page,) However, there is a lot of frustration over the delay, but not that it was built.

      To think that this tram will be ditched is pretty out there, it is here to stay. One problem is this mayor got elected by an underwhelming majority of votes split between, what, 17 candidates, hardly a mandate, and why we hardly have a leader.

      As for the excuse of not setting a fare, how dumb is that, just set it. I see the bikes are renting at 50 cents/hour, hmmmmm.

      1. I’m glad to see the bike rental program off to a good start. You have to realize that those who rent the bikes are a different class of people than those who count on bus transportation, or who might eventually be forced to take the tranvia. You might notice that the average bus passenger does not have a lot of money to spare for transportation. The average bus passenger probably doesn’t even read Facebook. I would guess that most of those expressing frustration on the tranvia Facebook page are the merchants that this article talks about – maybe a scattering of gringos who will ride a tram but not a bus, or others who have strategic property locations along the tracks.

        1. maybe you should read the Facebook comments yourself. I think
          presuming to know what other people can afford is a bit presumptuous, can you back up your statement regarding different class of people. It is neither
          here nor there, pick a fare and start and adjust over time. The city is
          in paralysis over this.

          1. The minimum wage in Ecuador is 394 USD/Month. I live in a typical community outside of Cuenca where many earn less than that. I’m not presuming. People tell me how much they earn.
            What I am presuming is that the folks who spend 50 cents/hour to ride a bike are not the same type/class of people who commute into Cuenca to buy or sell in the market. The bike riders are not the same folks who commute into Cuenca every day to work for minimum wage.
            I’m not hoping that the tranvia is a failure. I just think that it will be for all the reasons that I’ve stated in the past. It also irks me when wealthy, compared to Ecuadorian standards, gringos wonder why 50 cents would be a big deal. The tranvia fare obviously has to be equal to or less than a bus ride or folks won’t ride it unless they’re forced to. That type of fare would then result in a big subsidy bill for the city.

            1. At this point I agree with much of what you said, even though, there are plenty of cuencanos who can indeed afford to ride the tran (I have lots of Cuencano family, they are not wealthy, but they are educated, and probably not making minimum wage.

              I am all for a fare that equals the bus and be done with it, there was always going to be a subsidy and we will not know how much until ridership is established. I would not give students a free ride either, they can afford their Pilsiners and Remegio Crespo hangs on Friday nights and they can afford to pay fares I think.

              Bottom line,, this constant pushing it back in time is not helping the overall cause.

          2. Just another benefit of a poorly executed squeeze on the taxpayer. Read that book someone posted on here about economic hitmen. It sums it up pretty well. The only beneficiaries are the French in this drama.

      2. Pixelvt, All good points! It is kind of like buying a lemon car. When you see no end to the repair bills, parking bills, insurance bills, license bills, parts bills, and the cost of a drive and you have to keep paying over and over again. Sooner or later someone steps up to the plate and asks WHY? I wish it weren’t this way but it is. Sometimes taking a loss is the best financial decision. Imagine how nice it would be to see electric buses (busses) with access to solar power that works for everyone, not just those near the line.

  3. What a shame. Loss of training, money, and the future. Cuenca Government needs to get their “shit” together and stop being bullied by the few. My guess is that the problem has more to do with the coordinating bus service, and their unwillingness to compromise. The city tries to please everyone and it is impossible. With change there are always winners and some losers, but progress must do just that….proceed.

  4. It’s a shame this has been delayed again. Having used the Tram system almost daily in Zurich and other cities in Europe, I know how much this will help move citizens around efficiently and clear the air of pollution. I hope they get these issues resolved soon.

    1. Comparing Zurich’s comprehensive transportation system to that of Cuenca’s is not fair. Nothing similar my friend.

      1. how can you complain about Cuenca’s coordinated tram/bus service when there isn’t one ? It is still to be decided. All of the world uses trams and integrates them successfully. why do you have so little faith in Cuenca ? All I hear is that you don’t like it, your friends don’t like it and it will be subsidized. Have you been on any of the committees that have studied the Tranvia ? Do you have numbers to back up the claims ? You do realize that the current bus system is heavily subsidized ? Until the tram has been running for at least a year we will not know what the average number of riders will be. You want to pay $350 million for something and then throw it away before even giving it a chance. You even want to spend millions more on infrastructure changes to remove all of the changes made for the Tranvia.
        Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney in Australia have integrated tram/bus systems and they are excellent. why can’t that happen here ? they need to make one trip be one price even if it includes 2 buses and a tram ride. that is the key. people won’t pay 3 fares for one trip. give it a chance stop being one of the anonymous negative people that we hear so often on here.

        1. The committee already published it’s report. Why would I want to get off a bus, onto a train, and then onto another bus, even if the price is the same? If you understood the situation here, you wouldn’t be comparing it to other places around the world. I’m sure that we would all love to see the tranvia become successful, but it’s not going to happen in the near future. The lack of it’s success has nothing to do with the negative comments on this site. Keep your fingers crossed. Someday your dreams may come true.

  5. Proudamerican 6 hours ago
    While you are at it, block this one too you anal retentive assholes! Again, you have totally disregarded the facts of the matter. Yes, unlike you I do have the numbers to back up my claims. All you do is ignore the gross waste of tax dollars that Cuenca can not afford. You being a user of the system rather than a contributor makes it much easier for you to throw common sense to the wind.

    Proudamerican 6 hours ago
    Denis, does it make your day to target me with your harassment. Spread it out a little. Many agree with me and many agree with you. It is not a popularity contest, I don’t dislike you in any way but damn give it a break. You refuse to read fact and comment on anything other than saying it will all work out. Educate yourself. What is with the anonymous comment. Are you wanting to meet and chat over coffee with me?
    Go look up the facts of how much money has been spent. Look up the cost per km the normal trams cost around the world. Look at the annual cost for repairs. Look at the cost for subsidy. Who in the hell do you think is going to get stuck paying for it? Do you know how much an electric bus fleet would have cost and how much fossil fuel offset would have been achieved? Do you know how much pollution would have been stopped? Do you care? Now CHL, you go ahead and block me again. I am done with you anal retentive bastards.

    1. you do know the Tranvia is electric right ? Why bring up the fossil fuel offsets ? I had mentioned adding more electric buses to the system. Cuenca has already started buying them.

      1. Really? Electric? You are kidding? I thought they were cuy powered?
        How many times do I have to say to scrap the Tram and buy electric busses? As long as the diesel buses are feeding the tram there will be major pollution. Oh, the city said the diesel buses will be replaced in about 6 years. My question is this, are those 6 tram years? Can’t do it now because they are wasting so much money on the dead horse. So, for those that don’t get it on the first ten rounds, the fossil fuel use will be eliminated when the smokey buses are replaced with the electric buses. Is this too hard to understand? The electric buses will maintain their routes that service the city now, no need to change buses and get onto the tram, no need to increase congestion in town for a dedicated one horse show tram line.
        Has anyone ever considered the impact of a tram breaking down, having an accident, or other event that stops the Tram, blocks the traffic? It isn’t even open yet and it has been in multiple accidents. What about losing electric to it, maybe from the crumbling electric generating stations.
        Those that wish to impress visitors should be hell bent on cleaning up the air and traffic pollution, not continuing it. That would be a great legacy for a thoughtful and fearless leadership.

        1. cuy is way too expensive. electric is the way to go. higher up front costs but less to run and maintain.
          why are you ranting to me about fossil fuel buses ? I have mentioned in several of my replies that I favor an electric Tranvia/electric bus integrated system. I don’t think you read very well. I can’t even think of one person that has replied and supported the buses that smoke their way down the street. My problem with you is that keep bringing up subjects that are not related to the Tranvia. Buses have accidents all of the time … it isn’t just the Tranvia. Tranvia runs on dedicated tracks so only interacts with traffic in few locations. Buses do it for their whole trip. You brought up the ‘lemon law’ but you know that you have to prove that the car has failed on multiple occasions to be considered a ‘lemon’. If it is a ‘lemon’, the seller needs to replace it at no cost. Firstly, the Tranvia hasn’t commenced operations yet so can’t be considered a lemon. Issues won’t arise until it actually commences. Secondly, no one is going to give the $350 million back even if it is considered a ‘lemon’ at some time after it has been running for at least a year to gauge it’s affects.
          no I don’t want to have coffee with you. I brought up the anonymous issue because I have found that people that stay anonymous are scared to let those posts be associated with them in case it lowers the opinion of them in other eyes.

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