City councilors accept bus-riding challenge, urge administration to follow suit

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) — While the city moves to grow its ridership with the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project, many ride the bus already and not everyone feels comfortable with what their experience.

When a homeless group challenged city councilors to ride a mile in their shoes, some of them did. Now, several councilors are calling on city administrators to do the same.

“You come to the bus stop and you need the schedule and the schedule’s not there,” said Albuquerque City Councilor Klarissa Pena.

Councilor Pena has been riding the bus for as long as she can remember, but for leisure, not because she has to. The Women’s Circle of Empowerment recently challenged councilors to ride the bus, so they could get a better feel for the difficulty women, recently homeless, face getting to work.

Pena took the group up on it and says she gained a whole new perspective — riding from her home in southwest Albuquerque — to work, Downtown.

Pena interviewed a number of riders. Many told her they love the convenience and ease of the bus. Yet, others told her they’d like to see changes. One woman told Pena she often felt intimidated riding alone. In fact, the woman told Pena she’s talking with her mother about buying a car.

After a night ride with her husband and Councilor Ken Sanchez, says she understands why.

“When I was coming home and it was dark, I was like, ‘oh, thank God he’s with me.’ But unfortunately, that’s not the case with a lot of folks, lots of women,” said Pena.

During an interview with KRQE News 13, a man approached Pena Wednesday, while her husband tried to convince him to leave. Pena says, after her experiences, she believes there must be a shift in mindset for ART to succeed. She says she’s already in touch with the Albuquerque Police Department about safety, but believes the city should make changes, too.

Pena also says city leaders need to focus on connector routes, north and south.

“That’s a tremendous void in our community,” said Pena.

Workers say there are only four workers to manage nearly 5,000 bus stops all across the metro. But Pena says more must be done to keep stops clean.

“Tell {leadership} we need to come out more often or –. No, not ‘or’. We need to come out more often,” Pena said.

Crews were out Wednesday, spraying the sidewalk, hauling out a grocery cart turned trashcan and removing graffiti.

Councilor Davis says he plans to accept the group’s challenge, as well. Both Pena and Sanchez are also calling on the mayor to take a ride from his home to work. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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