National government worries about ‘traffic chaos’ once the health emergency ends on Sunday
The national Emergency Operations Committee (COE) is developing a matrix of traffic rules that will apply in each of Ecuador’s 221 municipalities after the national health emergency ends on Sunday. This is necessary, says ECU-911 director Juan Zapata, to avoid “transportation chaos” in the country.
“Beginning September 14, each municipality will set its own rules and this must be coordinated to avoid difficulties for cross-country travel, both for private vehicles and public buses,” he said. “We will have jurisdictions where travel restrictions will remain in place while others will lift all restrictions.”
Although not all local governments have determined their traffic rules, most of them have. Current restrictions will remain in place in Cuenca, Guayaquil and Loja while they will be eliminated in Ibarra and Ambato.
“Our goal is to safely reopen travel in the country and not have roadblocks to travel due to different rules,” Zapata says. “For example, if someone is driving cross-country they should not be stopped by rules in a city they are passing through. By establishing a matrix we can see the different rules and work with municipalities to coordinate transit. We must establish a unified national model that is not disrupted by local conditions.”
Zapata said the traffic matrix will be completed this weekend, once all municipalities establish post-emergency rules, and the national transportation plan will be announced next week.
Zapata said that discussions are underway with Colombia and Peru regarding the reopening of international borders. “This has been complicated by the severe Covid outbreaks in Colombia and Peru but the situation is now improving in both countries,” he says. “Fortunately, Ecuador is further along in the progression of the disease and in its recovery.”