Even with “free” buses ABQ’s bus ridership remains FAR below pre-pandemic numbers

Albuquerque began its “free” bus program on January 1, 2022. The program is touted by transit advocates and leftists as a big success, but “free” buses have NOT had a discernable positive impact on bus ridership. As the chart below (compiled via public records requests) shows, the City’s bus system is nowhere near recovering from the COVID 19 pandemic and is unlikely to do so. The following are ridership numbers:

2016: 10,901,920
2017: 9,684,618
2018: 9,571,853
2019: 9,024,374
2020 5,097,090
2021 4,396,480
2022 5,998,565
2023: 6,276,509

In fact, as of 2023 ridership on Albuquerque’s buses is down by 30.4% relative to 2019, the last year before the COVID pandemic. That’s an even worse drop than the 22% drop experienced by the RailRunner over the same time frame.

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