Metropolis councils hope for bus fare in Albuquerque

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – Starting July 1, everyone in Albuquerque will be able to ride the bus for free for one year. The city councils want to give low-income drivers a break and try to recruit new passengers.

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The money to cover lost fares was provided in the budget when it was passed last month, and the city’s traffic director said the department will follow suit to make this happen. “Beginning [in] In July we used that $ 3 million to pay for all fares, so it should be in July, but we are only affirming by this ordinance that we will not be charging fares, ”said Lan Sena, Albuquerque City Councilor.

“We’ll make it work, if the city council gives us the money to run free tariffs on the pilot they are giving us for, then we’ll do our best to make it run as smoothly and efficiently as possible we can, ”said Danny Holcomb, Transit Director at CABQ.

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The city’s transportation department said it costs about $ 32.5 million to run the bus system. Before COVID-19, the city only raised about $ 3.5 million in fares per year.

Councilor Sena said she wanted better access for all, especially in low-income communities. The four city councilors behind the idea also want to convince people to try the bus.

People had mixed reactions to the free fares and to leaving their cars for the bus. “Great, let’s do it! We need more people on the ARTs and fewer people to drive. I think it’s a wonderful idea, ”said Veiga Osicky.

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“I’ll actually be driving electric before I use public transport, that’s just one of those things. I want to be environmentally conscious, I want to be aware of it and at the same time be independent, ”says Max Pruden.

For special events such as the Balloon Fiesta, fares are charged according to the regulation. Even if the money is already earmarked to cover lost fares, the city council must pass legislation to set up this free fare pilot program.

They should vote on it this month. The city’s Sun Vans, which are suitable for the elderly and the disabled, will also be free for a year.

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