Dear Family and Friends,
We are so happy to be in Cuenca. It is progressive, making positive changes in so many areas. The city is so different from what it was when we moved here 13 years ago. The changes have come, sometimes it is slow but they happen.
An example is the tram. We have been waiting for the tram since we were told it was going to be built in 2012. Back then they were predicting it would be built and operational by 2015. The tram finally became operational this year. It has been operating for free for the last couple of months. Very soon, in order to ride the tram, we will need to pay. The way to pay is to buy a card and put money on it and swipe it when you get on the tram. The fare is deducted from the card.
When they took the coin machine out of the buses and started using the cards, the city talked about how they wanted these cards to be good for all public transportation. (Renting bicycles, taking taxis, riding the bus and even riding the tram when we have one.)We have been doing this for two or three years now to ride the bus. We have a bus card that we add money to and the cost of each bus ride is deducted. The taxis are not taking the cards....yet.
So doing this for the tram should be very simple.....RIGHT!
There is a small problem. The buses do not want to share the bus card with the tram. So for the time being and this is all straightened out, we will have two cards.
There are multiple places around town that you can buy a tram card. One of those places is the airport. So we decided to take the tram to the airport to get the card.
Our closest tram stop is just a walk up the river to the bridge.After we cross the bridge the tram stop is about a half block away.
On the platform is a machine where you swipe your card before getting on the tram. This deducts the fare. No cash needed.
I took this selfie on the tram so that you can see that it was not very crowded. Right now the city is only allowing the tram to run at 50% capacity.
They are very good about keeping the cars disinfected at the end of the line.
When we arrived at the airport, we got off the tram and crossed the street.
Inside the airport it was very strange. All the check in counters were completely empty. No one!!!
Even the little kiosk for trinkets was completely empty.
Here are the two arrivals scheduled for the day. They both come from Quito.
And, of course, two departures, for Quito. Second hand hearsay is that these scheduled flights can be canceled. We figure if we were going to fly to Quito for a flight out of the country, we would fly to Quito a day or two early so we can make sure we get there okay.
We went to the small tranvia office to buy our cards. We could only go in one at a time and we social distanced ourselves to even do that.
This is where the confusion comes in. When I got my card, I looked at it and told the young man that it looks identical to my bus card. He smiled, rolled his eyes a little, and then took a round sticker with a T on it and put it on the card.
This is going to be fun watching folks try to use their bus card for the tram and vice versa until they can get things consolidated.
We hopped on the tram, returned home after stopping for lunch.
That is about it for this little outing.
We have been riding the tram for free for about two months now. The city is going to start charging fares on the tram today. So we are good to go.
Next week, we are taking another trip out of town. This time we are headed south.
Until I am able to share the next post with you take care.
Nancy and Chuck