The Cuenca Cantonal Emergency Operations Committee (COE) is asking passengers on city buses and the tram to carry their vaccine cards with them but they won’t be mandatory.
“These will be random checks of passengers already seated on buses and the tram but we will not deny anyone service,” Mayor Pedro Palacios said after Wednesday’s COE meeting. “Our intention is to encourage users of public transit to get vaccinated if they are not already and to carry their cards if they are.”
Palacio said the spot-checks for vaccines is necessary due to the increase in Covid-19 infections in Cuenca and Azuay Province.
The COE decided not to reduce public transit capacity, acknowledging that the recent surge in Covid-19 cases has reduced ridership to less than 50 percent. City Councilor and COE member Xavier Barrera says this could change depending on health conditions and ridership. “If the number of passengers exceeds 60 percent we will reconsider the situation. At the present time, many people are working from home and taking alternative transportation so we are not seeing crowded conditions.”
Barrera said it is impossible to check every bus or tram passenger for vaccine cards. “The bus companies do not have enough employees to check everyone and such an operation would disrupt schedules,” he said. “On the tram, the municipality assigns only one agent to each unit and because there are multiple entrances they would not be able to check everyone who boards.”
Beginning Wednesday, the national transit agency made it mandatory for passengers of inter-provincial and inter-cantonal buses to present proof of vaccination. The agency does not have authority over municipal transportation systems but encouraged encouraged them to institute their own vaccination rules.