Scheduled to be operational in less than a year, Cuenca transportation officials still don’t know how much passengers will pay to ride the tranvía. This, despite the fact that the city has paid more than $260,000 to Spanish consultants to come up with a fare.
Mayor Marcelo Cabrera claims that Transportes Metropolitan de Barcelona has violated its contract, signed two years ago, by not delivering a recommendation and says negotiations are underway to recover the city’s payment. The contract was for a total of $380,000, with 70 percent of that already delivered. According to the mayor, the contractor was required to deliver its fare recommendation and study data within six months.
Suggested tram fare, offered informally by various officials, range from 22 cents to 50 cents. The 22 cent fare was suggested by former Mayor Paul Granda three years ago and is now considered too low. The city says that the tram and bus fares must be the same under the Unified Public Transport program. The city was waiting for the tram fare recommendation to make an adjustment to bus fares.
Cuenca Councilman Xavier Barrera says he expects the money paid to Transportes Metropolitan de Barcelona to be returned to the municipal coffers soon. “If negotiations fail, I will ask the National Comptroller to audit the contract and to begin legal action,” he said.
The city projects annual operational expenses for the tram to be $5.8 million.