Seriously, the RailRunner is Useless

My family is planning to head up to Santa Fe (from Albuquerque) to witness the Inauguration ceremony of Governor Martinez which is scheduled for the Plaza in Santa Fe at 10am on January 1. We might stick around for lunch and check out one of the museums in town.

Figuring that parking and traffic would be a zoo, I decided to check out the Rail Runner schedule to see if it would get us there by 10am. This would be impossible on a typical weekend and even on a weekday we’d have to board a 7:23 am train to get to Santa Fe in time for the event, but I figured that traffic and parking might make it worthwhile. But then I looked at the Holiday Schedule and saw “NO SERVICE.” on January 1.

Needless to say, I am stunned. I realize it is different, but when President Obama was inaugurated in January, 2009, Washington’s Metro Rail system had its heaviest traffic ever. Obviously, even on a heavy traffic day, taxpayers are still subsidizing each and every trip on the RailRunner, so I guess in a way I’m pleased with their fiscal restraint, but if you can’t use the train on what is bound to be a busy day of travel between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, then what’s the point of having the train in the first place?

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19 Replies to “Seriously, the RailRunner is Useless”

  1. I never understood the logic of a state subsidized rail system serving such a small percentage of the state in the first place. It’s time has come and gone!

  2. The Rail Runner is just a start of what this state needs to do to increase public transportation. The RR needs to run from Las Cruces to Denver. I have friends who commute from Alb to Taos and use the RR for every trip. One friend is legally blind and cannot drive and as we no longer have bus service to Taos, he uses the RR and then the Taos Express.

    It’s less expensive and less dangerous than driving our drunk drivers filled highways.

  3. We simply can’t afford the Rail Runner. We should sell the train. We should attempt to sell the tracks. I realize we won’t get but a small portion of what we put into it, but it would no longer be a black hole we put money in.

  4. Re: t myers on Rail Runner for physically handicapped

    Isn’t the Taos Express a bus?

    t myers’ last sentence/paragraph is illogical…since the Taos Express is using the highway!

    Maybe the t myers “response” is illogical.

    1. That’s because we do not have train service to Taos, yet. There once was a train that ran through our area and into Colorado. I believe the Taos Express is a van, not a bus. How awesome trains are in Europe!

  5. All of these rail projects are payoff’s to the Labor Unions.
    Why should they get special monopoly privileges? Their just un-American parasites ripping off everyone else!

  6. At he outset I was a strong proponent of using a monorail type system which would provide not only public transportaiton, it would in its “novelty” in my opinion see much more use as tourism draw until such time as the communter traffic would grow to perhaps sustain it. Having a single rail line does not really satisfy communter transportation.. I also saw merit in the apparent fact that the line could go directly along the existing highway easement and provide built in safety by being elevated from the automobile and trucking traffic. Though I am not an engineer, there does appear to be many places north of La Bajada Hill where the potential for accidents involving motor vehicles and the train can occur. I support public transportaion wholeheartedly however I am certain if you ran the “numbers” we could have subsidized buses to serve commuters for an indefinate period of years and still come out ahead compared to the losses the Railrunner will carry.

  7. As long as we’ve got the Rail Runner, it makes sense to maximize its use via intelligent scheduling and marketing — such as adjusting the schedule for major events like the inaugural, Santa Fe Opera, etc.

    State agencies also should encourage employees to use the Rail Runner by aligning meetings and work schedules with the train and reducing the state motor vehicle fleet.

  8. The Rail Runner is a work in progress, public transit has been neglected for a long time in the USA and it will take time to rebuild ridership.

    It would also be nice if RGF wasn’t a puppet of big oil, highways only & automobiles only interests.

    If the RGF really wanted to make things more cost effective, it would be bringing up the use of such things as electric mulitple units.

    1. Why do you assume that RGF has an unstated agenda? What are the ‘highways only’ interests? Are these State maintenance facilities and their unionized labor force?
      Are you aware of Amtrak? It has been a government subsidized black hole for money. Much as is the Postal ‘Service…
      Do you really think governments would be willing to forego their money streams from fuel taxes, vehicle registrations, and highway use taxes in favor of a source of less income?
      It is much like the popular left-wing tobacco strawman. Now that fewer people are smoking, and thus not paying the usurious taxes on tobacco products, programs supported by those taxes (children’s health) are underfunded. And we are told that the government (read the workers of this land) need to subsidize these programs. Oh wait! Obama Care is going to resolve all those problems, right?
      What is an ‘electric multiple unit’? Is this the much-esteemed electric vehicle? It uses coal and natural gas generated electrical services to provide charging for a largely inefficient use of energy.
      Review the first law of thermodynamics…unless you are a BA or MA holder in which case, never mind! Y

  9. Mass transit makes sense in areas with a high population level which equals high potential ridership. In NYC, it works. No part of NM is in any way equivalent to NYC. The Rail Runner is destined to be a money pit that will continue to drain resources from the State that can be better used elsewhere.

    The fares don’t come close to paying the costs of trips taken. Everyone riding is being subsidized by the State.

    Had there been any thought put into this project, it would at least have been a light rail line. Heavy rail(and the RR is indeed heavy rail) becomes efficient when stops are several hundred miles apart. Light Rail wouldn’t break even either, but would come closer.

  10. I strongely believe the ‘Rail Runner’ should be put out to pasture and replace it with the ‘Road Runner’. That would be a ‘natural gas’ bus service to all parts of the state. The rail doesn’t serve any of the people in southern or eastern New Mexico and yet our taxes are also paying for it. As John would say “give me a break”. And while we are at it, lets starting drilling for our own natural gas to run the buses.

  11. Governor Martinez, I would stand and cheer if you cut all funding to the Rail Runner on your first day in office. It would show that you mean business when you say you will cut wasteful spending.

      1. Road user fees largely make the roads self-sustaining. Transit in its current monopolistic, government-run form is not and never will be. Transit can work, but the government needs to get out of it and let the private sector thrive.

  12. The Rail Runner has one fundamental problem, and that is there is not a direct ail link into the Albuquerque Sunport. If there was this service, it might become viable to scheduled service on the hour early morning to the evening. Tourism in effect could subsidize and possibly make the Rail Runner work.
    The Rail Runner needs to be privatized under the condition the acquirer adds a direct rail link into the airport. Service to Taos or the southern part of the State is a total fantasy without that.

    1. Agreed – the problem is that it is not quite set up for the commuter or the tourist. Pick one or preferrably both.

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