Rail Runner Ridership remained pathetic in 2021

The New Mexico Rail Runner Express (like many transit systems) had been losing ridership for many years before the Pandemic, but the rise of COVID 19 in March of 2020 drastically reduced the number of people who take the train.

And, while (as the chart below shows) the number of riders rose slightly in 2021 relative to the nadir of 2020, the fact is that many transportation analysts believe that “mass” transit has been fundamentally and even permanently impacted in a very negative way by the Pandemic.

After all, the train was primarily used by government workers to commute up to Santa Fe. If a large fraction of them no longer have to make the commute, they get the benefit of 3 or more hours back that they’d otherwise spend commuting AND they have a more flexible schedule.

WILL transit ever come back? Who knows? What we do know is that New Mexico continues to shovel tens of millions of dollars into a  train system with a vanishingly small number of riders.