Report fails to absolve “zero fare” program from crime issues on ABQ buses

ABQ City Council will be voting on Wednesday evening on whether or not to. make the City’s “free” bus program permanent. Media stories purport to show the results of this city report as showing that crime did not worsen thanks to the program.  (another report here)

“Free” bus fares began on January 1, 2022. They have been in place ever since. Sadly, the City report has too many charts like the one below.  The fatal flaw is that no data is produced from dates prior to the program being implemented.

Yes, good data is hard to come by because of COVID ridership changes and other issues, but providing incident data only back to the start of the “free” fare program fails to show any impact at all. It’s meaningless.

That said, the massive uptick in narcotics on city buses highlighted below would seem to be a big and growing issue to be addressed on city buses. The City ultimately needs to go back to the drawing board to find evidence for and against “free” buses.

According to the City’s report net revenue would be $1,785,000 if fares were collected. As an aside, the report itself was not readily available on the City’s website. We had to ask a friendly councilor for the report which we have. posted and linked above. 

Vandalism has gotten MUCH worse since the “free” bus program took effect but the report notes that “some” of these problems are at bus stops not on buses themselves. A breakdown of that would be helpful.