Cuenca Mayor Marcelo Cabrera is negotiating with the French government for a grant to study converting the city’s bus fleet to electric or LP gas power. Currently, buses use diesel fuel, which is blamed for localized air pollution in some areas of the city, particularly the historic district.
Cabrera is asking for $1 million. The French government is a partner in funding the Tranvia de los Rios, the city’s new tram system, and maintains an international development fund to help foreign communities.
The government has discussed alternative bus fuels for years but the idea has met resistance from bus companies over questions of who would pay conversion costs.
In a 2012 study, the most polluted area is Cuenca was along Calle Presidente Cordova between Luis Cordero and Padre Aguirre. Almost all of the pollution was due to diesel bus fumes.
Despite high pollution readings in some areas of the city, Cuenca ranked in the top 10% of South American cities with populations above 100,000 for good air quality, according to a 2011 survey by the World Health Organization.
Photo caption: Marcelo Cabrera.