City Councilor proposes free bus fares during ART construction

ABQ Ride bus downtown
ABQ Ride bus downtown (Carey Olson KRQE)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A City Councilor wants to help businesses on Central survive during Albuquerque Rapid Transit construction by offering free bus service.

“People would have the opportunity to ride free along Coors, Louisiana, and the Central routes,” said City Councilor Ken Sanchez.

It’s idea Councilor Sanchez said is simple.

“They’re saying we don’t want to go downtown because we don’t want to fight this traffic, well here, we’ll leave the driving up to the bus drivers,” said Sanchez.

He’s talking about construction up and down Central due to the controversial ART project.

He said businesses are hurting, so he introduced the idea Monday to waive fares on four major bus routes.

“On weekends, bus fares would be free and on weekdays from 4:00 to 9:30 people can ride free,” said Sanchez.

Sanchez said it also might attract new bus riders.

“Plus, it will get people on buses who have never ridden a bus and they will find out this may not be such a bad idea once the ART project is completed,” said Sanchez.

KRQE News 13 asked people whether they would they hop on a bus and take the city up on its offer.

“Probably not,” said one person.

“No, that doesn’t seem enticing whatsoever,” said another person.

The reason why, varies.

“I just don’t really feel safe on the cities buses,” said one person.

“I would rather just kind of drive there myself,” said another.

Some people did tell us it was a good idea that they would probably take city up on if they lived closer or could park somewhere easy first.

“It would be a lot more accessible if you could just hop on a bus,” said one person.

There’s also the question of how much would the proposed plan cost.

“That is one of the things transit is currently working out,” said Sanchez.

For Sanchez though, he believes it will be worth whatever the cost is.

“I feel like this will be a real asset to the communities and this would be a win win for the entire city,” said Sanchez.

Sanchez said he’s currently talking with the Mayor, trying to get this passed administratively. If that doesn’t happen, City Council will have the chance to vote on it in December.

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