The Rail Runner Express. Albuquerque Rapid Transit. A new commuter line linking Las Cruces to El Paso.
Is anyone in New Mexico government interested in how their fellow citizens actually move around?
Randal O’Toole, who’s been out to Albuquerque more than once on behalf of the Rio Grande Foundation, is interested in how everyone in America moves around. The invaluable scholar and central-planning critic has crunched the new commuting numbers from the American Community Survey. He found that in each of New Mexico’s three most populous counties, driving alone to work grew between 2006 and 2016:
During the same period, transit continued to make an infinitesimal contribution to commuting. It rose from 1.81 percent to 2.08 percent in Bernalillo County, fell from 0.77 percent to 0.39 percent in Doña Ana County, and rose from 1.38 percent to 1.46 percent in Santa Fe County:
New Mexicans have made their choice. They prefer the convenience and freedom of personal vehicles over the hassles and restrictions of government-run trains and buses. True transportation “visionaries” in the state’s public sector should be looking for ways to replace costly, cumbersome transit systems with on-demand rides (already here) and automated vehicles (on their way).
One Reply to “How Much More Will Be Wasted on Transit?”
Discussion of public transit in New Mexico has been largely data-free. We know very little about who rides existing bus routes or where they’re going (and can’t tell whether buses are running empty because they’re covered with ads). We don’t know whether the Rail Runner has had a significant impact on traffic, and I have not heard of any decrease in the use of take-home government vehicles.
That suggests that transit projects are based on wishful thinking — build it and they will come — rather than actual commuter needs.