Cuenca Mayor Marcelo Cabrera said Thursday that the fare for Cuenca’s tram system will be 35 cents when it begins operations early next year. Those over 65 and students from six to 18 will ride free.
Cabrera said fares would be paid with the same electronic card that becomes mandatory on city buses in April.
In a press conference about transportation projects, Cabrera said construction is on schedule to meet the October completion date for the tram but said that four months of testing will be required before the system begins full operations in March 2019.
In addition to tests, the mayor said that the additional time is needed to erect signs and safety devices and to reroute vehicular traffic from the tram route in the historic district.
According to Cabrera, the 35-cent fare, five cents higher than the new fare for public buses, is based on daily usage of 35,000 to 65,000 passengers. If ridership falls below 35,000, he said, the city will consider raising the fare to 50 cents. “We feel confident, however, that ridership will meet expectations and may even exceed them,” he said. Full capacity for the tram is about 130,000 per day.
The ridership estimates are based on a study by transportation consulting company León Godoy.
Through the remainder of 2018, tests of rolling stock will continue. By July, tests will take tram units through the historic district.
During the press conference, Cabrera confirmed that the original requirement that the city bus fleet be replaced with Euro 5 units has been replaced by a measurement of particulate pollution. He said the change will allow bus companies to go ahead with the fare increase to 30 cents from the current 25 cents.