New mayor stops tram tests and says it could be seven months before public operations begin

May 16, 2019 | 2 comments

Saying that legal, contractual and maintenance problems remain to be resolved, new Cuenca Mayor Pedro Palacios ordered a halt to tram tests that began under former mayor Marcelo Cabrera. Palacios said it could take as long as seven months before the system is fully operational.

The tram is a political “hot potato” and could sit idle for several months while several issues are resolved.

“We are fully committed to the tram but there are serious issues to resolve before the system can begin running,” the mayor said. “We will not rush into operations for political purposes and we will not set deadlines.”

New city tram director Jorge Espinoza says he inherits a “hot potato” but plans to begin work immediately to get the system up and running.

Palacio says he decided to end tests for “technical and legal reasons,” including the fact that system has not yet been legally turned over to the city. “We have a contract dispute with the general contractor [ACTN] that must be resolved before the official turn-over can occur and there are questions about who is responsible for maintenance costs during the testing period.”

Among other issues to be settled are the fare and the elimination and changes to public bus routes to support the tram. Although the city has the authority to impose the changes unilaterally, Espinoza says he hopes to reach a mutually agreeable solution with bus owners.

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