Quito’s Metropolitan Control Agency (AMC) is clearing busy intersections of men and women who proposition drivers to wash their windshields. AMC says the washers, who approach drivers during red traffic lights, are a nuisance and and a disruption to traffic flow.
“The number of washers is growing and motorists are complaining that they have been threatened if they don’t pay to have their windshields washed,” says AMC director José Luis Aguilar. “These people are unlicensed to do business in the city and we have several cases where they have damaged car surfaces with screw drivers when motorists refuse to pay.”
According to Aguilar, 63 window washers have been removed from intersections this week, and says AMC officers will continue to enforce a city ordinance that bans “public nuisances” on city streets.
According to AMC, most of the washers are not Ecuadorian. “They are from Colombia, Venezuela and Peru and most are not legal residents of Ecuador,” says Aguilar. “Our job is not to enforce immigration laws but to keep streets open to vehicular traffic and maintain security in Quito.”
Arguments broke out earlier this week between AMC officers and window washers at locations where washers were evicted. “We are only trying to make a living,” a Venezuelan man said. “Why are they trying to stop us from feeding our families?”