The government announced Tuesday afternoon that interprovincial and intraprovincial bus fares will increase 15% on May 1. The agreement with bus operators ended a two-day bus strike that had disrupted traffic throughout much of the country.
Bus companies had demanded permission to increase fares since May 2020, when the government subsidy for diesel fuel ended. The cost of diesel has risen 44 percent in the last year. Abel Gómez, representative for the bus companies, expressed relief at the agreement and announced an end to the strike that has stranded thousands of travelers.
Transportation Minister Gabriel Martínez, said the new fare represents the “current financial realities” faced by bus owners. “We believe the increase is justified because fares have not changed since 2015,” he said. “In addition to the increase in fuel cost, the cost of maintenance and other aspects of the transport business have also gone up.”
The bus strike has resulted in road blockages throughout the country since Monday. In Cuenca, traffic was stopped for up to two hours on Tuesday in several locations, including Av. Ordóñez Lasso and Remigio Crespo as well as on highways on the outskirts of the city.
Following the announcement of the fare increase, indigenous leader Leonidas Iza claimed it was “an attack on poor people of Ecuador” and said his followers would mount protests around the country.