The commercial operation of the Cuenca tramway begins next week without a payment system that integrates it with the city’s bus system. Officials say the lack of a unified system is the result of a disagreement between bus owners and the city about how to collect fares.
The city insists that payments be made through a $9 million system that was part of the tram installation while bus owners want to use their own Movilízate electronic card that went into use in 2017.
City councilman Councilor Xavier Barrera blames bus companies for not providing data form the Movilízate system for the delay. “The data is essential for accounting purposes in dividing revenue and we have been waiting to two years to receive it,” he says. “We have made it clear that the integration will use the system that came with the tram. We paid $9 million for it and cannot afford to abandoned it now. It is superior to the bus system card and is designed for integration with other transport systems.”
Barrera, who heads the council’s transportation committee, added that some progress has been made in recent weeks in negotiations with the Cuenca Chamber of Transportation, which represents bus owners. “We believe we will have a solution within two to three months,” he said, adding that the city has the right to mandate a solution if necessary.
The tram has been in operation since the first of May, providing free transportation. When it begins commercial service next week, fare will be 35 cents with the use of the tram card, 17 cents for senior citizens, students and the disabled. A single ticket can be purchased at tram platforms with cash for $1.