In response to tram critics who say that ticket prices for Cuenca’s new tram system will need to be 75 cents to a dollar to cover expenses, the city transportation director says they will be the same as bus fares, which could increase soon, pending a study.
Gerard Fernandez, Cuenca transportation director, says that tram fares have yet to be determined but they will match those for buses, which will probably increase from the current 25 cents, following a review of transportation costs that is currently underway. “We are reviewing our entire transportation system and the integration of the tram and bus service. We plan to have a common fare once the review is concluded,” he said.
Fernandez responded to project critics as the city steps up efforts to educate the public about the tram, officially, Tranvía de los Cuatros Rios.
On Saturday, the transportation department manned a series of displays in Parque Paraiso, providing information about the tram to the public. The displays contained route maps, stations, travel times, as well as videos, pictures and diagrams of the passenger cars. One display featured videos showing trams similar to Cuenca’s, operating in Euorpe and Asia.
The tram will operate 14 units of five cars each and will travel at 20 kph along a route running from the southwest section of the city, near the Av. Las Americas – Azogues autopista intersection, crossing the historic district, and continuing northeast to the municipal industrial park.
Transportation officials answered questions about how the tram will affect vehicular and pedestrian traffic along the route. Officials at the displays explained the system of synchronized traffic lights that will allow the tram to avoid delays, and that some historic district streets will be closed in vehicular traffic.
Cuenca Mayor Marcelo Cabrera said the exhibits in Parque Paraiso are the beginning of an intensive campaign to inform the public about the tram. “It is essential to have these sorts of displays so the public is part of this project and understands why we are building it. It also allows us to correct misinformation that some people seem to have,” he said.
The tram is scheduled to begin operations by mid-2016.