As tests of Cuenca’s tram system pick up speed, at least 150 motorists have been ticketed for various right-of-way violations along the route. Almost all the violations were on Av. Las Americas and in the historic district, officials say.
“The tram always has priority as it moves through the city and this means that all vehicles and pedestrians must yield for its passage,” says city tram spokesman Santiago López. “Those interacting with the tram must observe the traffic signs and signals or they will be ticketed.”
According to López, the majority of tickets were issued for illegal left turns across the train tracks. “The signs prohibiting turns are in place and transit officers are on-site looking for violators.”
López added that warnings have been given to dozens of pedestrians during recent tests, most of them for crossing in front of on-coming trains or walking too close to the tracks as trains pass. “This is especially important in the historic district due to restricted passageways. There has been noticeable improvement in this regard as tests have progressed and people become accustomed to the train. This is a process of educating pedestrians about the rules.”
The first phase of tests, focused on an assessment of track integrity and railway electronic functions ends at the end of the month, says Jaime Guzmán, city tram project director. “The track tests have been satisfactory along the entire route and we will begin testing the signal and communication system in January,” he added. “The public won’t notice any changes in the frequency of the tests as trains will continue to operate from 6 a.m. until 10 at night.” He added that the project is on schedule.
Guzmán said the public information campaign for tram safety is underway and will become more visible in January and February. “Our intention is to reach the entire population, especially people who will interact with the tram.”
Guzmán says the tram will become operational in March but said an exact start date has not yet been determined.