Cuenca News

French and Chinese companies bid to assume tram management; winner to be picked in two weeks

Only two companies have posted bids for the $32 million contract to complete Cuenca’s troubled tram project. The city says it will select the winning bid by the end of July and that new company will assume responsibilities immediately afterward.

Tram on display in Otorongo Plaza in 2014.

According to Edison Castro, city tram coordinator, the bidders are the French consortium ACTN Tramway Cuenca and the Chinese Railway No. 9 Engineering Group Co. Ltd.

According to Cuenca municipal councilman Marco Avila, both companies are qualified. Railway No. 9 has offices in Quito and has a long record of successful work in the energy and transportation fields, he says. The French consortium, on the other hand, has strong ties to Alstom, the company that manufactured tram equipment and has overseen installation of the tramway.

“Either of these bidders has the proven capability to finish the project and to do it correctly,” says Avila. “We had hoped for more bids but are pleased with the two we received.”

Avila is part of the committee that will make a final selection by July 26.

The winning bidder replaces a Spanish consortium that walked off the job in October 2016 in a payment dispute with the city.

  • StillWatching

    I get a laugh out of the gringos that complain about the delays in the tranvía project and then turn around and make apologies for the mañana mentality that brings it all about. In other words, we’re not supposed to criticize the underlying culture (“It’s their country and we are guests here” they cry) but they complain about the results like tranvía delays.

    • Globetrotter

      Gringo attitudes, whether kind or complaining, cannot change reality. The simple truth is that too often cultures rush to copy new toys and habits they shouldn’t. The Cuenca tram project was likely doomed from the start, a very ill-chosen addon for this time. place and people.

      Can the tram project be repaired, and salvaged by another management team from yet another culture? I hope so but I have never seen that happen in similar situations around the world. What we should hope for is that some idea pops up that can use the huge expenditure in some way.

      • Katheryn

        I’m betting they get er done one way or another. Anyone like to gamble?

        • Globetrotter

          I hope you are right. But even if they get it finished and even running..how long do you imagine they can keep it that way?

          • Katheryn

            Probably the same way as the US Treasury does..poof, the money is just there.

        • lorenzo

          I’ll bet that they do get er done. After that, within a year after everyone has ridden it once for kicks, it will again become abandoned tracks used for walking and bicycle trails.

          • Katheryn

            I am betting both you and Globetrotter are wrong. Yes, there will be lots of kinks to work through, but based on my study and research to possible choose Cuenca to move to….I’m betting the “get er done”. If I am correct and I move there, you all owe me a dinner:)

  • ecexplorer

    Why? If they can do the job, why not?

    • StillWatching

      Well, we both knew they’d show up sooner or later.

      • Katheryn

        Yep, your lucky day:)

    • Katheryn

      Read my reply above.

  • Pixelvt

    kind of condescending dont you think

  • StillWatching

    You nailed it. I was also waiting for the appearance of the xenophobes with their anti-Chinese comments. They must be away for the weekend.

    • Katheryn

      Stop with the anti-Chinese stuff. I love Chinese food.

  • StillWatching

    I never have a smile on my face. I’m a grumpy old man. But, I was thinking about your vocabulary and thought you might benefit from a service I’ve used for over 20 years. It’s called “A-Word-A-Day” and if you sign up (it’s free) they will send you a fascinating e-mail daily that, among other things, will introduce you to a word you probably don’t have in your lexicon. I admit that many of the words hold no interest for me, but every once in a while, they’ll bring you a gem that you’ll love and you will make part of yourself, thus enriching your life. Here is a link where you can sign up:

    https://wordsmith.org/awad/subscribe.html

    • Katheryn

      I will do that! Why are you always grumpy? What has life personally done to you to give you nothing to feel happiness and gratefulness but just grumpy? I am not a person who walks around with a big smiley face, but I do find things each day to be thankful for and try to do small things for others to make a small difference in their day. My life has not been easy in many ways but I am manage a smile now and then:)

      • StilllWatching

        Don’t take me so literally.

        • Katheryn

          What I can say about SW is even when you are obnoxious, you are very knowledgeable and you mow me down; I get chuckle out of the banter. Seriously, I do learn things also:) Wishing you a non-grumpy Sunday.

      • Globetrotter

        Katheryn, I admit to same wondering about him. He comes across as so constantly bitter, aggressive and sour. And regardless of how hard or easy an entire life has been, it is only present circumstances that determine one’s current mood. He must always be in angry agony.

        • Katheryn

          Globetrotter – what can we learn from each and every interaction we have with others. SW may just be a troll to encourage interaction on the site or he may really be the grumpy old man he claims. I don’t know but someone who utilizes this site and lives there knows the truth:)

          • Jason Faulkner

            Having an internet connection doesn’t give him any special insight into reality. If anything, his posts prove he lives in a world of soundbites, cliches and motivated cognition. He’s not grumpy. He’s crotchety. He interacts with us because he neighbors no longer tolerate him.

            • Katheryn

              How is crotchety that different from grumpy. Aren’t they fairly similar in describing a personality? With my luck, I’ll move there and end up his next door neighbor. Poor man would really go off the deep end 🙂

              • Jason Faulkner

                Everyone is grumpy from time to time. Crotchety is a way of life.

                • Katheryn

                  Some people just feel better when they try and make others feel stupid and unimportant. That’s what makes him happy as well as tick. Does any regular on this site know who he really is?

                  • Pixelvt

                    why not ask him ?

                    • Katheryn

                      I am asking others on the site that may know him. Do you really think for a moment he/she would disclose the truth. It would remove a large part of the fun.

                    • Pixelvt

                      and why does it matter really, do you know who any of us are for sure ? and why would you care, this is a public board to express opinions, I wonder what your motive is to know he is, or me for that matter, chill lady

  • StillWatching

    Well reasoned thesis. Great job [end sarcasm]

    • Katheryn

      Gosh SW, I wasn’t aware that producing a thesis as a response was required. Perhaps they should post a “general” disclosure. Oops…my bad, it is just a SW rule. END SARCASM

      • StillWatching

        Don’t you think you should at least provide some sort of rational support for your views? If they have no rational support, maybe you should reconsider them.

        • Katheryn

          If I had the interest and the time I would. But this forum is more about bouncing around different ideas and opinions, not just facts and statistics. Sometimes facts and statistics just aren’t useful in certain instances. I do read and think about posts that I have not thought of. That what makes it worth the time to read and participate rather than spending time on FB posting a million pictures of myself and stupid one line descriptions of my posting. Obviously, I don’t do FB. Nothing against it just think it is a total waste of time and noting interesting.

  • Jason Faulkner

    Nothing racist about that statement.

    [sarcasm off]

    • Katheryn

      Speaking the truth is not necessarily and always racist. Who is to say that the Chinese would do a better job? Perhaps, but I am entitled to express my opinion; I think?

      • Jason Faulkner

        Nobody said you aren’t entitled to express your opinion. In case you haven’t noticed, the Chinese make almost everything you buy, but by all means let’s assume the guys who make your cheese are automatically more qualified to build a train. Incidentally, how many high-speed rail lines have the French built? More than China?

        But yeah, nothing racist by your statement. Clearly the longest standing civilization in the world and the largest manufacturer on the planet is less qualified a priori because . . . well I’m sure you have valid reasons. Too bad you didn’t think you needed to enumerate them.

        • Globetrotter

          Psst… Jason. Google “TGV”. (Train à Grande Vitesse) France is the world’s acknowledged leader in high speed trains. They blanket that country. For that matter, try “Bombardier Transportation” for wider francophone involvement in this area. That being said, I cannot see a productive management here considering the cultural differences between French and Cuencanon.

          • Jason Faulkner

            I would hardly call France the “acknowledged leader”. China has almost ten times more kilometers of high-speed rail in operation, 22,000 to France’s 2,600. The nation with the second most kilometers of high-speed rail in the world is Spain at a paltry 3,100 km, yet still the longest in Europe. In fact, China’s high-speed rail network is over 2k kilometers longer than all other countries combined. Not only do they have the longest high-speed network in the world, they have the fastest; the Shanghai Maglev is a full 100 km/h faster than its nearest competitors in Japan and France. No nation on Earth comes anywhere near China’s record of rail lines built, high-speed or otherwise. It would seem the “opinion” expressed earlier has less to do with any objective facts and more to do with which group looks more like the person offering said opinion.

            But we’re in the Trump era where no statement can be scrutinized or critiqued so long as it is prefaced with “it’s just my opinion”. Facts be damned. I have an opinion. That’s means it’s perfectly valid.

            As if the pilot of an aircraft asks the passengers for their opinion before landing. The Dunning-Kruger effect is spreading exponentially.

          • Katheryn

            Thanks for doing the research. However, I don’t believe that their would be any less of a culture difference whether it be French or Chinese. There will be difference with either or.

            • StilllWatching

              Why don’t you change the subject when your backed into a corner?

              Ooops, sorry, you just did.

              • Katheryn

                Really, you can do much better than that!!!!!! Is that too much emphasis for you?

        • StillWatching

          AMEN!

        • Katheryn

          If I was involved with those that will be making the decision, you can believe that I would have a well prepared presentation as to why I made the choice I did. This is not the case here and I am just expressing my belief that the French will do an overall better job. Again, nothing to do with racism Nothing is further from the truth of who I am..

          • Jason Faulkner

            It’s a sealed bidding process. The process doesn’t factor in your own personal beliefs. The decision is based solely on two factors. The bidding companies present their company’s abilities, experience and resources. Companies must meet each and every requirement indicated in the tender. Of the companies who meet those requirements, the contract is awarded to the company with the lowest bid. It’s not a question of who you believe will do a “better job”. The company awarded the contract is required to complete the job to the exact specifications indicated in the contract. There is no better or worse. The job is to be done exactly as specified.

            • Pixelvt

              With all due respect, you do not know what the criteria is for this award. A low bid is not always a winning bid regardless if you state that you can meet all the specs. In most competition I have been involved in, experience and demonstrating it counts. You must know that. Often different technical areas are scored differently. May the best company win regardless of prejudice. (Katheryn)

              • Jason Faulkner

                Just as long as they git-er-dun. I expected this to be done years ago.

        • Katheryn

          No. I don’t have to state valid statistics. That is up to the people who will make the decision. Based on the knowledge, albeit limited, I would go with the French. I guess it is a bit like going for the long shot on a horse not favored in a race but obviously performed well enough to be in the race. I doubt that you will understand my analogy and it will be ignored by SW or torn apart, but that’s what keeps the discussions more interesting. I feel very strongly about all human rights and I am not pinning for times past. The past is done and I live in the present. One person I greatly admire was Rosa Parks….those are the type of people I admire. It takes guts individual by individual to stand up for your beliefs and changes that should and need to be changed.

          • Jason Faulkner

            This is a public works project, not a horse race. One does not “bet” on a long shot based on a gut feeling. There is nothing inherently better about a French company for this kind of job. The Chinese have an order of magnitude more experience in rail than the French, so the only factor that should be considered is the bid.

            • Katheryn

              Faulkner- I’m not the one with the information and researching the projects and qualifications from the French and Chinese companies placing the bids. Unless you have access to the proposals, you are really basing your judgment on your perceptions and personal knowledge which doesn’t necessarily mean you are correct because you don’t have knowledge of what was submitted in the proposals. My point was that you obviously know more about Chinese experience but what was submitted by the French. In that I have no part in making the decision, I made a statement referencing that I know most agree with you that the Chinese should or will get the contract and I’m saying unless you have a crystal ball, you can’t guarantee that the French couldn’t get the job done and perhaps just as well for possibly less cost. if I had access to the actual proposals and read through them, I might make a different statement, but I don’t so I’ll stick with the French:)

            • StilllWatching

              In this instance, faulkner is dealing in common sense, facts and logic. Katheryn doesn’t deal in that currency.

              • Katheryn

                Yep, sometimes Katheryn just throws caution to the wind and goes with the “gut”.

      • StilllWatching

        Sure, you can express your prejudices any time you want———— as you just did.

        • Katheryn

          I’d expect better from you. Nothing said could even remotely been construed as prejudice. Stick your grumpy head out of the sand for a moment and look around at real prejudice.

  • Katheryn

    Let’s just say I am biased toward the French. The Chinese have their hands in and own too much of everything. I knew this would get you guys jumping (get it) on me. That’s OK. I can deal with it. Where is my Valium?

    • Pixelvt

      Such generalities get us nowhere. Forget where they are from, pick the best contractor and the best value and go forward, French, Chinese, Martian, who the hell cares.

      • StillWatching

        Amen. People’s silly racist or xenophobic prejudices should have nothing to do with it.

        • Katheryn

          I don’t have a prejudice bone in my body so that is a true and unfair statement. Wrong.

          • Jason Faulkner

            You’re prejudging two companies in an industry you know nothing about based solely on their nationality. That is the very definition of prejudice.

            • Katheryn

              Wrong assessment. I made a short not deeply researched comment which makes your statement in the last sentence a real leap.

            • StilllWatching

              Amen!

              • Katheryn

                Three times in one article…..wow.

          • StilllWatching

            Bull. You just admitted your bias in favor of the French and agasinst the Chinese. Do you really think I can’t remember what you wrote just a short while ago. Your very words:

            “Let’s just say I am biased toward the French. The Chinese have their hands in and own too much of everything.”

            • Katheryn

              How do you take that statement and stretch it to me being prejudice? The Chinese do have their hands in every country, is that not a fact. I know, I’m sure later you will provide a link to somewhere out in webville land trying to prove your (rightness) It would seem to me that some of you here have a prejudice towards the French. I can flip the same crap right back.

            • Katheryn

              Biased toward the French in “one” circumstance does not add up to prejudice. Look it up.

        • Katheryn

          Stop using “Amen”, when it obviously means so little to you.

      • Katheryn

        I have more trust in the French as far as honor and integrity so I believe that if they are chosen, they will live up to the terms and time-frame where the Chinese have become to westernized and don’t really give a damn except for the money and they don’t care about the intense caring about the tram for those living there. For that reason, they won’t give it their all and I don’t believe the Chinese have much integrity in business dealings with those that are not Chinese. Just my humble opinion I also lived with someone for 36 years who was of Chinese decent so I know a little about what I speak..

        • Pixelvt

          yup, you show your true colors, sad

  • Globetrotter

    For a Frenchman, the use of the word “frog” is the same as using the “n” word for blacks, or similar ugliness. Be careful Ed. There are bars in the world where you could knifed in the belly for that.

    • Jason Faulkner

      Not quite the same. I don’t think “frog” was the last thing many Frenchmen heard before being hanged.

      It’s mostly an insult in Canada where tensions between Anglos and French were high for a very long time and the French minority was treated as an underclass. Continental French don’t really care. They consider frogs to be a tasty treat.

  • Michael Berger

    Considering the current political and financial climate it’s probably safe to say that the Chinese will be the ones to finish the tram. I hope the French company did not waste too much in time and resources bidding for the job.

    Based on interactions with a few Ecuadorians of way higher than average competence I believe that the talent needed to finish this project can be found here. It is my observation that high functioning Ecuadorians are so far above the average Ecuadorian that most average Ecuadorians cannot recognize their competency and the few that do recognize their competency actively fight against them out of jealousy and fear of being shown up. Therefore it is for cultural reasons that the most competent are often sidelined and relegated to minutia rather than being allowed to lead big projects and implement the important innovations needed to make Ecuador a first world country or even bring it up to the same technological level as the countries that border it.

    • Jason Faulkner

      It’s not a question of individual ability. What is required is a company’s abilities. Being smart is not sufficient when you don’t have an entire organization staffed with experienced people around you.

      As for the who will win the bid, the process is pretty straightforward. Companies submit two envelopes. The first outlines the company’s resources, experience, manpower, insurance, etc. In other words, their physical capability to complete the job. If the information in that envelope meets the requirements outlined in the tender, the second envelope is opened to indicate the price they would charge for said project. It has nothing to do with the “current political and financial climate”. I recognize that you see a conspiracy behind every corner, but you might want to take the time to see how public contracts are awarded before breaking out the tinfoil hat.

      BTW, high-functioning people are far above average people everywhere. That’s why they’re called high functioning. Inferior people react to them in pretty much the same way everywhere as well. Some go so far as to mention them in every comment they post on the internet to overcompensate for their feelings of inferiority. 😉

      • Michael Berger

        If it has nothing to do with the current political and financial climate then the French will win the bid; it should be an easy decision since they have the familiarity with the equipment and are able to get the job done for sure. Even if the French bid is higher they are more likely to have a realistic understanding of what it will take to get it up and running. They are familiar with the nuances of the equipment and best able to work with what’s there. Had it been Chinese equipment and engineering from the get go using the Chinese contractor would make sense now but since it was not it makes no sense. Then again, considering the realities of the present political and financial situation, there may be very good reasons for choosing the Chinese contractor.

        • Jason Faulkner

          The Chinese have built more than ten times more miles of railway than the French ever have, so I’m not sure why you assume they have more familiarity with the equipment and are more able to get the job done. There is no such thing as Chinese or French equipment. It’s engineering equipment. It doesn’t care where you’re from because it only answers to the laws of physics.

  • StilllWatching

    It is patently clear you don’t understand the term “melting pot”. First of all, it isn’t a verb. Second, a melting pot, even as a metaphor, is far from what you seem to think it is:

    “The melting pot is a metaphor for a heterogeneous society becoming more homogeneous, the different elements “melting together” into a harmonious whole with a common culture or vice versa, for a homogeneous society becoming more heterogeneous through the influx of foreign elements with different cultural background with a potential creation of disharmony with the previous culture. Historically, it is often used to describe the assimilation of immigrants to the United States.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melting_pot

  • Katheryn

    My statement was not a preconceived opinion.

  • Katheryn

    Well that’s awful, did he pass away? Probably from reading your posts:)

  • Katheryn

    I have found a few typos in some of your posts Mr. Thinks He’s Perfect. I don’t bother spending the time to proof a post some of the time. No, perhaps not perfect grammar, but I have more important things to take care of and like to give you something to do and another person to add to your, “stupid”, list 🙂 Did you study the link I sent you?

  • Pixelvt

    good job

  • Pixelvt

    for someone who has too little time to spend here, you sure spend a lot

  • Jason Faulkner

    That wasn’t an insult. It was an objective observation. You yourself admit that you aren’t very well traveled. I am more than open to opposing points of view, but if you express an opinion in a public forum you have to be prepared for it to be disputed. Otherwise, what was the point of expressing it publicly in the first place? If your position is easily countered with objective data, it simply means your opinion wasn’t valid. The intelligent thing to do when faced with data that opposes your opinion is to change your opinion. Cognitive dissonance is supposed to lead us to beliefs that more closely resemble reality. Sadly, many people just dig in their heels instead. There are literally millions of people who believe in their heart of hearts that despite all the evidence to the contrary, the world is flat. That is an example of cognitive dissonance failing to lead to a more accurate worldview. Everyone has a right to their own opinion. It doesn’t mean that everyone’s opinion is valid. Having once had a roommate of Chinese descent hardly qualifies as data about China. Saying something is “just my opinion” doesn’t mean it isn’t open to scrutiny nor is it exempt from the same standards of racism and bigotry that we would apply to any other statement. There really is a such thing as right and wrong, correct and incorrect, objective and subjective. Calling something an opinion does not change that fact.

    BTW, I don’t defend myself from SW. I don’t even see his comments. I imagine they are as asinine as they were a year ago the last time I saw anything he posted. From the responses to his comments, it would appear that he still mentions me in almost everything he posts. My opinion on that alternates between pity and amusement. I guess he really has nothing better to do, but I’m not retired so perhaps it’s what awaits us all. I realize he is desperate for my acknowledgement, but I won’t give him the satisfaction. His opinions mean nothing to me and his behavior is not something I feel obligated to put up with. There’s a reason he hides behind multiple pseudonyms. I wouldn’t say anything to anyone here that I wouldn’t say to their face. That’s the governor nature puts on our social behavior. You have the option to block any commenters you’d rather not see. I can see you’ve been sucked into his vortex. You might want to get out while you can. His only purpose is to hurl insults. What he gets out of it I’ll never understand. He clearly has very low self-esteem and he uses this forum to overcompensate for his overwhelming feelings of inadequacy. I have better things to do with my limited time on this planet than be the therapist he doesn’t have the fortitude to seek out for himself.

    • Katheryn

      Well we agree on that; I wouldn’t say anything here to anyone that I would not say to their face. I consider that to be an honorable trait but not all do. As long as it is stated politely and each have the ability to politely agree to disagree. I have always stuck up for the underdog against bullies and that is what SW is; a bully. Therefore, for others who are intimidated (not meaning you) or afraid to speak up, I’m not. I don’t spend tons of time proof reading or correcting grammar or typos because I do not care about being judged by my post or response thereof. My main interest in following this blog is to try and get a real sense of some of the people who have chosen Cuenca as a place to live. I am not well traveled, have not had the Ozzie and Harriett child or adulthood life but that does not make me stupid. Yes, I do not have the education level that you and some of the others but that does not mean that my thought process or conclusions are not worthy. It is off-putting to many when you guys put others down. There is a more polite way to interact and also not make people afraid to post because they will be made the laughing stock by some. I have no doubt that SW is very intelligent. So was my father, he had a genius IQ, but like SW, was always angry at the world and everyone was stupid looking through his eyes. Sometimes being the smartest, most beautiful/handsome, best athlete, etc., comes at a heavy price and these people have the most difficult time adjusting in a more average society. So go easy on us that you feel are not up to snuff intellectually or the ability to articulate what they are trying to get across as well as you guys.

  • Pixelvt

    LOL, now your prejudice against men, OMG you really think this is a men’s group ? Too funny, I could care less if you are from Mars, I am reacting to what you say.

    • Katheryn

      Yes, there you have assumed correctly. I am prejudiced against everyone except dogs….and perhaps I am from Mars! I am reacting to what YOU say.

  • Jason Faulkner

    No tribe in human history has won more battles than the French. That’s an objective fact. Judging the French based solely on WW2 is like judging the US based solely on Vietnam.