Albuquerque bus system continues to lose riders

Albuquerque’s prior City Council (not the recently-elected group) collaborated with Mayor Keller to eliminate fares for bus riders. It is hard to say whether the new policy will result in more ridership or not, but it is clear that fewer and fewer people choose to ride the bus.

In the private sector this would result in resources being shifted away from an increasingly unpopular system. In government, failure results in more resources being wasted to provide a service that fewer people desire. Finally, the better option would be to return money wasted on “free” buses to taxpayers. 

Here is the data from the City with the percent of decrease added:

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9 Replies to “Albuquerque bus system continues to lose riders”

  1. The bus right now is a covid trap many people do not have appropriate masks on this many people fill unsafe to ride plus many commuter buses were cancelled. Some drivers enforce the rules and some so not. Many times the busses are filled with homeless people and there is not room for regular riders.

  2. Aren’t several hundred city employees involved in running the system? I can’t think of a single Dem mayor who has willingly laid off a bunch of city workers.

  3. Most people don’t “choose” to ride a city bus — they take it because they have no other transportation. Most bus riders are lower/working class. It makes sense ridership would drop over the past year — we are in a pandemic, after all. Folks are getting sick, maybe losing jobs, and if you are concerned about COVID and don’t need to get from one place to another, you might opt to stay home and not ride the bus which could be a prime site of virus transmission.

    But back to my original point — public transportation exists so that those with no other means are able to travel from one point to another. We subsidize fire departments and police departments with our tax dollars; we don’t expect people to fight their own fires or police themselves. Public transportation serves a similar collective purpose. I am fine with paying for it.

    1. Bus system most likely necessary,ART, on the other hand needs to be dismantled and taken to the dump. It has been nothing but an incredible obstacle to business access since the very beginning.

  4. The five-year drop is huge. There must be something going on other than distaste at riding the bus. Is ridership a proxy for the general economic condition of Albuquerque? Are people becoming afraid to ride the bus because of rising crime associated with buses?

  5. Glad to see the ridership statistics. I’m surprised the ridership is as high as this article reports as the buses I see go by, hardly have anyone in them. Now if we could know the yearly cost of our bus system- cost of buses and maintenance, fuel, salary and benefits of the employees, etc. so we can determine what cost is each ride costing? Maybe an uber-type system would be better. The rides should not have been made no cost to riders. In my opinion the fare should rise a bit, was still a great deal for the riders.

  6. The city of Albuquerque bus system is a financial wreck. In the best of times, this system lost over $50 million per year, maybe collected
    $3 million in fares. So the time to cut the losses, reduce routes with empty busses is now. But not likely Mayor Keller will do anything positive for Albuquerque, other than keep us safe from Illegal plastic bags.

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