Quito subway and bus integration stirs controversy; ‘Van Gogh Alive’ heads to Cuenca; Lasso submits voter questions; 80% of energy from renewables
Although it’s not expected to be operational until the end of the year, Quito’s new subway system, the Metro, is already creating controversy with the city’s plan to integrate it with city buses. Roberto Custode, Metro director, says there is “nothing to talk about” regarding rerouting buses to connect the Metro and Ecovía and Trolleybus lines. “It was determined long ago that integration of the buses and Metro was essential and this is non-negotiable.”
Bus operators, on the other hand, say they have heard nothing about integration and have not been consulted about it. They also say they will not agree to any plan until they are sure it will not affect their bottom line.
Transportation consultant Mario Villagómez, says the Quito Transportation Office has done a “terrible job” of planning for the integration. “They say the Metro will be in operation by December — which remains to be seen — but they are far behind in developing an overall transportation strategy. They have not been working with bus operators, which is essential for developing any kind of workable system.”
Villagómez says the integration problem is similar to the one in Cuenca with the city’s tram system. “In both cases, there is a lack of planning and lack of communication with bus operators,” he says. “The difference is that the tram is up and running in Cuenca while the Metro remains mired in contract disputes and poor management decisions.”
Lasso to submit referendum questions to the court
President Guillermo Lasso announced Saturday he will deliver his referendum questions to the Constitutional Court the first week of September. Although he did not provide details about the questions, Government Minister Francisco Jiménez said last week they would address crime and law enforcement and food security issues. They may also include questions that could change the structure of the National Assembly and the role of some government agencies, and possibly reverse legislation passed by the Assembly.
According to Jiménez, the referendum questions could be on the ballot in February when voters choose mayors, provincial prefects and other local officials. Before going to a public vote, the questions must be reviewed and approved by the Constitutional Court.
‘Van Gogh Alive’ heads to Cuenca
Called the “ultimate digital immersive experience,” the “Van Gogh Alive – The Experience” art exhibition is headed to Cuenca. Already viewed by almost nine million people in Europe and North America, the exhibit of “projection art” opens in October in Quito before moving to Cuenca in February and to Guayaquil in May.
Event organizers are currently in talks with local arts and gallery officials in the three cities and say they will announce details of locations, dates and times in the coming weeks.
80% of Ecuador electricity comes from renewables
According to the United Nations, Ecuador is a world leader in generating energy from renewable sources, mostly from hydro-electric generation. The country’s Ministry of Energy reports that the country currently produces 80.1% of its energy from water, wind and solar sources. About 19% of energy comes from fossil sources with another 1% coming from “feedback” from private electric generation.
Ecuador operates seven hydro-electric plants which generate 15% percent more electricity than the country need. The excess is sold to Colombia and Peru.
The Energy Minister says that the use of renewable energy has risen from 70.7% in 2011 to the current 80%. “The percentage of energy generated from renewable sources will continue to increase, with a goal of achieving a 90% level by 2035,” the Ministry said in a press release. “Plans are underway to install five new wind farms in the next three years with the expectation that wind will generate 5% to 6% of the country’s energy needs when the projects are completed.”
According to the UN energy office, 31% of the world’s electricity is produced from renewable sources.