ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A decade after it hit the tracks, the state wants to know why more people aren’t using the Rail Runner.
Rail Runner is launching its bi-annual survey this month asking people about Rail Runner service, but for the first time, they’re also asking non-riders why they’re not hopping on.
Ridership for the metro-area’s train system has plateaued over the last few years with about 3,500 riders each day. Now, Rail Runner wants to know if a bigger investment could help get people on the train.
“If they don’t ride the train right now, maybe it can work for them in the future,” said Jay Faught, marketing manager for the Rail Runner.
From the new TV spots to a new survey, Rail Runner is trying hard to get more people on board.
“We really want to give people a chance to ride the train for the first time,” said Faught.
Rail Runner’s new questionnaire, which lasts through May 15, is aimed at getting more passengers on the platform by asking them what they want to see.
“What can we do to make an ideal experience for everybody in the community?” said Faught.
The survey marks the first time the train service has asked non-riders to get involved.
Rail Runner trains carry about 3,500 people each week day and just over 1-million passengers total each year.
News 13 asked several people in Albuquerque on Wednesday what their biggest reasoning is behind not riding the Rail Runner regularly. The biggest complaint was that getting from the train station to work takes too many connections and too much time compared to a car.
“I rode it in the past because I didn’t have a car,” said Dante Risso from Los Lunas. Risso used to ride the Rail Runner daily but has since stopped. He says higher gas prices and more traffic could convince him to ride to CNM’s main Albuquerque campus each day.
“It doesn’t fit into where I live and my schedule,” said Laura Dulin of Albuquerque.
“Most definitely time and being knowledgeable about the links as far as how to get from A to B,” said Ashley Sena, who says she’s ridden the Rail Runner to Santa Fe once before.
“That’s my biggest concern too,” said Joann Lopez of Albuquerque.
Among the series of questions, the survey asks if people want to see more train stops, more express trains, more shuttle busses to other locations or if Rail Runner service should start earlier in the day and run later in the evening.
“All of those things really are under consideration,” said Jay Faught.
One of the questions even asks if free ride days or entertainment, like on-board concerts, can win new riders. For now, Rail Runner think small tweaks will make the big difference in getting people to ride, they just want to know which ones people like.
“If you get people out there riding the train one two, maybe three times, and it’s something that works with their schedule, they might be hooked,” said Faught.
The survey ends on May 15th. Anyone can fill it out and has the chance to win prizes like an iPad, Isotopes tickets or free Rail Runner passes.
For a link to the survey, click here.