Category Archives: TranVia

Notes on Updates

 We aren’t just updating our bus route maps, we are also updating the OpenStreetMaps  project with the TranVia . The OpenStreetMaps projects provides all the base cartography for the Cuenca Bus Sherpa Atlas. 

This is a good news/bad news situation… the good news as, as you can see below, I’ve added the TranVia tracks to Gran Colombia and Mariscal Lamar to the base maps which we use for our route maps.

The bad news is, I am going to have to go back and re-image each of the PNG files I’ve been uploading over the last few days. After the city allowed the TranVia construction to split El Centro into north and south, they also re-routed numerous routes to the last passable intersections. They expect these re-routes to be in effect until August at the earliest, but more realistically, until November.

Even though this is extra time and effort, adding the tracks now will save me having to re-image ALL of my routes later when the TranVia is close to being in operation.

I apologize for the extra time this is going to take in updating the members’ files on the website, but this project has always about providing the most accurate and comprehensive maps. Users of my maps let me know all the time that they appreciate my work and my eye for details. The sacrifice for that eye is the extra time to make sure the maps are as updated as they can.

Thanks again for your continued support! I’m parked at my desk clicking away at fixing and updating the files, Thanks for your patience while I make all the updates and changes.



HUGE CHANGE ANNOUNCED: Linéas 24 y 27 are now “Radiales”

This may be the biggest change to the Cuenca bus system since they removed the Troncal 200 and Alimentadores 103, 104, 202, and 203.

As I wrote about in a recent post, and talked about in the last Cuenca Bus Sherpa Podcast, the city has dropped the biggest list of changes to hit the city in about two years. Of course, the changes are due to advancing fronts of the TranVia construction in El Centro.

Most of the buses have been routed around the huge zone of closed intersections, causing a lot of inconvienence for those of us who used Juan Montalvo y Tarqui to get in and out of El Centro.
A8 mapa centro hist—rico

Two bus lines are not just re-routed, they’ve been cut in half and split into two!

That’s right. The 24 and the 27 have both been split into two separate “Radial” lines. Instead of long routs going from one side of the province, through El Centro, to the other side of the province, their will now be norte* y sur* to take into account.

Linéa 24 – Miraflores to Cochapamba

The 24 was a very long route, usually taking over an hour to go between the villages of Miraflora and Cochapamba by way of El Centro. Now there will be a Linéa 24 Radial Norte that will go from the area north of Plaza Rotary up to the village of Miraflores; meanwhile, on the south side of El Centro, the 24 Radial Sur will come into El Centro past Todo Santos as far as Presidente Cordova before doubling back and returning on its outbound trip to Cochapamba.

Linéa 27 – Zhuizil to Sinincay

The 27 was another very long route going from the cemetary outside of Baños all the way up to Sinincay, north of the city. Just like the 24, there will now be Radiales Norte y Sur. The city has issued a map showing its new starting points in El Centro.

Of all weeks to take a new job!

I’ve already got a huge workload ahead of me this week altering and posting new maps because of these changes, I’ve just started a new transcription job and will have little time away from the computer this week. I probably won’t be riding as many buses in the next few days, so please keep me informed of the changes you see and how they are affecting your routines.

Be sure to keep up with changes by subscribing to our blog or our podcast.



*Cuencanos don’t use cardinal directions or know the city by which is the “north side” etc… I had to choose directions to describe each route in my atlas, so I use them often.

An El Centro Divided… Podcast Episode 3

Cuenca Bus Sherpa Podcast episode 3 is out! I cover the big news and changes hitting El Centro this week.

Check out the CBS podcast for news and updates.
Subscribe to the Cuenca Bus Sherpa Podcast in iTunes

This page will have links to the latest podcasts. Older podcast may not be available from iTunes, but they will be archived HERE.

UPDATE 5/23/16: The map for the 27 was delayed, so although I mention that it has been changed to two linéas radiáles, I didn’t have the information to say what it is going to do. Here is the update announcement from the city:

Listen below or follow me on Soundcloud

Permanent Podcast Page

Whew…. The biggest batch of changes yet!

Folks…. it is going to be a tough week getting in or out of El Centro by bus. We have no less than 11 bus lines that are changing!

Well, the moment has finally come. The TranVia construction in El Centro has reached the point of shutting down the major north-south corridors’ intersections, so ALL of the bus routes that take them have been altered significantly.

The major change that is going to affect us is that Juan Montalvo and Tarqui will NO LONGER HAVE ANY BUSES!

That’s right. Beyond the 16, all the rest, the 8, 12, 18, 20, and the 25 have all been diverted at Vega Muñoz, over to Miguel Heredia going south and going north, over to Miguel Vélez or Estévez de Toral. Meanwhile, on the east side of El Centro, Tomas Ordóñez and Vargas Machuca have been disrupted, so that affects the 10, 19, and 24 on their north-south routes.

Well, I have entire pageful of changes here, so rather than type out each change, take a look at an image of the changes issued by EMOV this morning; first of all, here is all the closed intersections:


The city has published some updates with a few maps:

52216change 852216change 1052216change 1252216change 12n52216change 1852216change 18s

This is all I’ve found so far; regardless, I have a lot of work ahead of me this week making these changes to the individual maps. In order to speed up the process, I’ll work at getting images of the changes posted first. I can do that a lot faster than changing and rendering each PDF.

The main reason why we published our atlas on regular paper instead of glossy was so when these inevitable changes came to pass, users could easily highlight the new route in their books. Website members have the advantage of receiving the map updates, and the ability to print out single pages.

Remember, these changes are probably not permanent! They may last through August or even November, or they may return to their original routes once the tracks are finished at the intersections along Gran Colombia and Mariscal Lamar.

Check out the Cuenca Bus Sherpa Podcast

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been experimenting with recording a podcast to feature the latest changes and news. With all of these changes, this week’s episode is going to be pretty long. So get your atlases and your highlighters out, and I’ll read off each change line by line so you can update your books!

 Click here to visit the Podcast page 


Click here to subscribe in iTunes

(try pasting the above link into iTunes or your favorite podcast player or RSS feed)

New Page under Latest News

I’ve added a new page featuring tweets from several of the local agencies and individuals involved with Cuenca’s public transportation.

Not all of the tweets are strictly about buses and the TranVia, but you’ll be able to find many, many tweets featuring bus route changes and updates about the construction.

You can find the new page on the menu at the top of the page as a sub-item under “Latest News.”

Boy, do I have a lot of changes to tell you about! I’m working on a post about today’s announcement of changes to 11 bus lines in El Centro.


New Part of Ordóñez Lasso and 4 El Centro Intersections are Closed

Starting May 16th, new stretches of Av. Ordóñez Lasso and four intersections in El Centro are closed to traffic.

Adding more madness to getting across town, the construction zone on Av. Ordóñez Lasso is advancing on Av. Las Americas; meanwhile, four major intersections in El Centro are closed while they install TranVia Tracks.

via 2 stories on El Tiempo

If you live off of Av. Ordóñez Lasso between Calles Pinos y Jacaranda, your life is about to get more complicated.

The widening project that started further west has worked its way eastbound and will now be effecting the busier sections.

The intersections of Gran Colombia and Lamar where they cross with Benigno Malo and Luis Cordero are going to be closed for the next three weeks.

The new manager of the TranVia project has announced, in response to missing an important deadline last week, that four major intersections will be closed for at least three weeks while they intensify efforts to complete the El Centro section of the TranVia construction by August or September.

The Layered Foundation of the TranVia Tracks

Several absorbing layers will be between the tracks and the surrounding ground.

As we’ve mentioned before, the big hype about vibration the TranVia would cause in El Centro was unfounded.

I spent some time watching the work progress in El Centro the other day and noted the way the track’s bed is put together.

If you take a walk up and down Gran Columbia and Mariscal Lamar, you can see every step of the work in progress, from the areas being torn up to the stretches of completed tracks. We’ve watched as they excavated a deep channel and replaced old water pipes, embedded orange electric conduits for future power lines in concrete, and then laid a concrete bed in which they put the foundation for the ties and tracks.

After the sub-bed has dried, they pour another layer of concrete in sections within the bed, and embed them with threaded receivers on top and other connectors for the sections on either side. Each of these sections have space between them but the connectors keep them from expanding or contracting too much. The threaded receivers in the top of the concrete sections are for large bolts that connect the individual ties to the concrete sections that are on top of the sub-bed on bottom.


The ties are pre-fab iron bars embedded into concrete blocks on either end. Each block also has a threaded receiver for the large bolts and as the ties are being connected to the rails, they are suspended above the concrete sections below by as much as four inches using the bolts. Most of the ties are suspended from the rails at this point, the bolted ties are spaced out from each other by more than eight feet.

After each section of rails are laid on ties suspended above the concrete that was on top of the sub-bed, another layer of cement is poured, filling in, under, and around each individual tie. This last layer of cement fills in everything leaving only the fasteners holding the rail to each tie.

The rails themselves are connected to the ties using fasteners made from a pliable material that will also absorb vibrations from passing trains.  tranvia construction

So in all, basically four layers of vibration-absorbing cement will be between the tracks and the ground surrounding them.

When it is all said and done, you’ll be able to sit on the ground within six feet of the tracks and you probably won’t feel the passing train.

Need proof? Here is a glass of water on the ground next to tracks laid using the same technique.


Keep The Messages on Changes Coming!

I’ve literally gotten more emails and messages about changes to bus lines in the last two weeks than I have in over six months that Cuenca Bus Sherpa has been online!

Obviously there has been some major advancements in the TranVia construction along Las Americas, meanwhile, the frentistas in El Centro are up in arms about missed deadlines and broken promises. The person who was in charge of the project has resigned for “strictly personal reasons” and they are supposed to name a new person to the position today.

This week, I’ve gotten emails mostly about the 7, the 16, the 22, and the 25…… based on the reports, both the 7 and the 25 are have been routed off Las Americas at Av. Mexico in order to access the Yanuncay area stops.

The 16 has had another major change due to TranVia construction on Gran Columbia between Tarqui y Juan Montalvo. It can no longer get to the stops at Colegio San Francisco or Pio Bravo and is instead detouring by turning left on Estevez de Toral, which is two blocks west of Juan Montalvo. Using Toral, the 16 goes all the way up to Pio Bravo and stops at two new stops on that street. The 27 normally passes by these same two stops. There is a stop around the corner from the stop called “Pio Bravo” on the 16’s map. Looking over my own work, I see that the stop is NOT listed on the 27 where it should be between stops 42 and 43. It probably didn’t have a sign last year, and when I recorded the route, the bus didn’t stop at it because no one need it.

That is a big headache for people who want to get out of El Centro and go north to Av. Abelardo J. Andrade!

The best option for you if you normally the 16 north on Tarqui is to take the 18 from anywhere along Tarqui to the Luis Cordero stop on Heroes De Verdeloma. From there, you can cross at the Chordeleg and wait for the 16 there.

What happened with the 22 and the 27 this week?

I got several emails from frustrated people who all waited for either the 27 or the 22 where they normally do on Monday and Tuesday and never saw their buses come.

Double check me on this, but when I went and checked them on Thursday, they were back to their routes. I think what happened was the intersections at Gran Colombia and/or Lamar with both Miguel Velez and Estevez de Toral were torn up and not allowing north-south passage.

These changes are stressful, but please “have understanding.”

We do our best to keep up with updates, but these last two weeks have seen so many changes, both big changes and small, temporary changes, that I can’t keep up with all of them. I try to check up on reports of route changes, but more often than not, the change that was reported may have only been good for a day or two before it switched back.

Regardless, please keep reporting deviations and changes in routes and sending me your stories and observations about TranVia construction in your areas. I love reading your first-hand reports!



Looking Ahead: Updates and Hub Maps

Looking ahead, we are monitoring the construction of the TranVia and watching for any announcements about when it will be running with passengers and therefore changing the bus routes.

We are guessing the bus routes that are being replaced by the TranVia will be altered to be more orbital to it. Perhaps they will act more as alimentadores or ‘feeders’ for the TranVia and thus become shorter and more neighborhood bound.

We are always watching the news for mentions of new developments in the plan, but if you see a local story about the buses or the TranVia, please send them to us. As soon as we find out about changes that are for sure, we’ll be finalizing the 2nd edition of the Cuenca Bus Atlas and update Until then, current members will continue to have unlimited access and downloads of the individual maps and will get discounts on the new editions and on re-enrollment.

Coming Soon: Hub Maps

I’m working on some new maps for members to come out soon! Available only online, I’m making what I’m calling “hub maps.” The hub maps will show the busiest stops, that is, the ones that have the most bus lines passing by; and the most popular stops, that is, the ones most people ask about.

Puente Del Vado Hub Map Sample
CLICK ON MAP TO OPEN LARGER VERSION IN A NEW TAB–This is an example of a Hub Map of the “Puente Del Vado” stops.

This map shows the area where Av. Loja crosses Av. 12 de Abril known on the buses as the parada Puente del Vado. As you can see (when you open this tiny picture in a new tab to make it readable), there are actually four stops in the area all called “Puente del Vado.” And of course, different buses pass all four stops.

So the burden of creating these maps is to figure out how show you what buses pass which stop in a way that is both visually appealing and not cluttered with too much information.

On this map, the red line represents the 12, 17, & 18,which all happen to be going northbound, stopping at #004. Only the 12 going southbound is part of the pink line passing by the #003 on Av. 12 de Abril (eastbound side); the southbound 18 turns off onto Guyas to cut down to Remigio Crespo Toral, and the southbound 17 is part of the blue line. Also part of the pink line are the 2, 5, & 7 eastbounds AND the 22 WESTBOUND.

That’s right, take a look at the map for Route 22, the eastbound goes west on Av. 12 de Abril while the westbound goes east past Puente del Vado! 

Meanwhile, on the other side of the river, no less than nine different buses pass by on the orange line. Most of them are eastbounds or northbounds, but then there is the southbound 14 that passes through El Centro on its way to Del Valle.

It’s enough to make your head hurt and I haven’t worked out the kinks to the point where my perfectionist self is happy yet, so if you have some suggestions for the Hub Maps, I’m open to them.

Updates, Ideas, and the Future of CBS

Wow! We are at the six-month mark since the publishing of the 1st edition! We get new requests for hard copies of the atlas all the time, so since we sold out of all of the last of our hard copies a few weeks ago, we went ahead and published edition 1.2.

The main change I added was the 16’s change through El Centro. I really expected that one to change back, but no, it seems like it’s going to be permanent.  Heads Up:It hasn’t happened yet, but soon, the TranVia construction is going to close Gran Colombia between Montalvo y Tarqui, and at that point, the 16 will probably skip the Colegio San Francisco stop on Tarqui altogether. Anyway, I’m also in the process of re-riding the routes from beginning to end, so once I have more small updates accumulated, I’ll print additional sub-editions.

When it comes to after all the dust settles and we have a functioning TranVia and new bus routes and we are about to publish the 2nd Edition of the atlas, I want to be able to lower the cost by subsidizing the cost of the atlas to the users by selling some modest advertising.

Our long-term goal is to continue to grow and be a resource on how to successfully navigate the Cuenca bus system. Even after the city publishes and distributes free maps, our objective remains to provide the most comprehensive maps available. The Cuenca Bus Atlas project has always been personally underwritten and maintained, so all of the support, both financial and moral, from members and users of our atlas has been very positive and we are very grateful to everyone for buying our products and making donations.

Speaking of donations, I’d like to make a special mention of our newest member living in Japan, Eric C. who just sent a very kind donation via paypal with a note about how much he appreciated the work and wanted to support “just an amazing project.” Eric hasn’t made it to Cuenca yet, so his support means a lot and I just wanted to make sure to say, Thank you Eric!


What do you think? Should we try to make the price of future Cuenca Bus Alas editions cheaper by selling advertising on or in between the route pages? Please let me know by commenting below.

We are always looking for ideas and proposals on how to proceed and develop the project, and as I mentioned above, if you have any thoughts on how to display the new Hub maps, please contact cuencabussherpa(at) with your ideas!

Thanks again – see you on the bus!

TranVia Vibration: An Over-Hyped Red Herring

One of the more virulent arguments against the project was that the TranVia vibration of passing trains would destroy Cuenca’s fragile El Centro.

The French company that is constructing the rails have taken extraordinary measures to control the TranVia vibration, and here is the visual proof of the design.

This video showing an example of the kind of tranvia vibration we have to look forward to in Cuenca was actually posted late last year, but I just found it while exploring some of the other videos about Cuenca buses and the TranVia project.  It shows a cup of water placed on the ground less than two meters from the tracks. A train just like the one that will be running in Cuenca rolls by and you can see the effect it has on the ground around it:


It may not sooth tempers about how long the construction is taking nor have less of an effect on the short-term bottom line; however, in the long run when we are walking down a street in El Centro and are taken surprise by a train passing by, we will all be thankful for the extra time that was taken to excavate the cavity for the bed of the train’s tracks. Other than the audio warning signals, don’t expect to feel the ground rumble to let you know a train is coming!

I’ve made no secret that I am a big supporter of the TranVia and think it will add a wonderful new dimension to life in Cuenca that we not only cannot imagine, one we cannot even begin to imagine.

Check out the other videos on the channel!

Surf on over to Gerardo Ayavaca‘s Youtube channel and see what it will look like to pilot one of Cuenca’s TranVia trains! I’m not sure who the individual is, whether he is a private advocate or actually an employee of the constructions company, but the few videos he has posted are very interesting!