After Gov. Lujan Grisham single-handedly reduced Rail Runner fares (from $9 for a day pass to $2.50) a year ago, many people thought they’d never go back up. Shockingly, they recently DID go back up to the normal price (which, of course, comes nowhere near paying even for the train’s operations, but it’s something).
Unfortunately, the City of Albuquerque seems hellbent on keeping “free” fares on the city buses despite the manifest problems caused by this policy. As we have discussed previously, Albuquerque’s bus ridership has been in a long-term decline that precedes the COVID pandemic. The number of people riding the bus DID increase slightly under the new fare regime of 2022, but the end of the pandemic and other economic forces may have played just as significant a role (or free fares MAY have even decreased ridership due to security concerns).