Cuenca’s tram will begin transporting passengers today but on a limited basis. Originally, full operation was scheduled to begin today but a number of unresolved procedural and administrative issues prevent it. Among those is the establishment of the fare, which the municipal council has yet to formally approve.
According to Deputy Mayor Ruth Caldas, as many 20,000 passengers will be ride the tram daily until full operation begins. Passengers will receive instructions on purchasing tickets, entering and exiting cars, as well as other ridership procedures.
Still unresolved, in addition to the fare, are a traffic ordinance related to tram operation, approval of safety rules, appointment of a tram administrative board and a sign-off from the attorney general allowing the tram to operate despite an unresolved contract dispute with a former contractor.
The city tram office has yet to approve a request by Metro Tenerife, the Spanish tram management company, to extend the testing period for three weeks. Tenerife says more testing time is needed to educate the driving public about interacting with the tram. Since daily tram tests began in November, there have been two minor accidents involving the tram, including one on Monday in which a drunk motorcyclist collided with a moving train.
According to city tram director Jaime Guzmán, Tenerife’s testing extension request may be a moot point depending how long it takes to resolve other administrative issues. “The time required to take to take care of these may be sufficient to satisfy their traffic concerns,” he says.
Guzmán adds that his office and Mayor Marcelo Cabrera are recommending tram fare begin at 35 cents but this awaits final approval from the municipal council. The council has already approved a public subsidy for $2 million for the first year of operations.