“Free” buses another futile attempt to push unpopular transit in Albuquerque

Government is really good at using copious quantities of taxpayer dollars to produce undesirable “products” at a high cost and having those products in turn rejected by the supposed “customers” they are meant to serve.

The City of Albuquerque has chosen to spend $3 million (above and beyond massive existing subsidies) to completely eliminate bus fares on the City bus system.

Albuquerque’s buses are deeply unpopular and have always been so, but ridership truly plummeted during the pandemic. Of course, despite massive government spending, transit ridership had been declining nationwide for years. The pandemic caused ridership to plummet. 

The question is not whether “free” bus service will goose ridership (it won’t). Rather, the questions is whether transit will ever recover from new “virtual” and hybrid work patterns (and the emptying of Americans from urban centers).

The concept was concisely summarized by President Reagan in the quote below many years ago.

Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it. - Ronald Reagan

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9 Replies to ““Free” buses another futile attempt to push unpopular transit in Albuquerque”

  1. AR.T.. should be torn away. It is horrible. They paint them so we won’t see how empty they are. Three empty bus systems. Alb transit dept. Is a joke.

  2. It’s not just the busses, it’s the roads.

    The subsidy provided to the gas and oil industry and the automobile lobby by providing paved roads should stop NOW.

    Privatization of roads would go a long way toward building a better society, where everyone is “in it for themselves” only.

    1. Fine, we agree that government does a poor job with the roads also. In fact government diverts money from gas taxes to transit and drives up the cost of road construction and maintenance through its racist “Davis-Bacon” rules and other policies. The difference is that people actually use the roads and aren’t inclined whatsoever to a mass privatization of roads. Good luck!

  3. Albuquerque transit is a bad joke. Speaking with the planners when it was being created they were saying Central was not meant for transportation??? Yet they want to have three different bus types transporting people there. They ruined Nob Hill. They created many hurdles to move in any way, by foot, by car and yes even by bus. TEAR DOWN THAT WALL you call public transportation., It is losing money and destroying the charm of Albuquerque

  4. Bus revenues are dependent upon commuters, those who ride every day. The bus system we have is mainly oriented to East-West along Central Ave. Nobody commutes East-west along Central. And, if they did, they would be exposed to street people, which only other street people want. Find somebody in the Transportation Department, tell them to stop sending/receiving vacuous memos, and go find out how successful transportation systems operate.

    1. How so? Are you saying that buses should be “free” to the end user? It is pretty clear the system is deeply unpopular with its “customers” or prospective customers. Just wondering on what basis you say we “lost” the argument.

  5. Albuquerque is a sad place for transit. ART was a project pushed by Richard Barry, and it was a mess from the start. A full lane of traffic dedicated to busses that come around every hour. The train to Santa Fe is another transit fail. When will someone take responsibility for the failed projects that New Mexicans oppose in the first place?

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