There ARE NO positives to the ART project

I’ll give Tammy Fiebelkorn of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project credit, it takes a lot of guts to write something positive about the boondoggle disaster known as Albuquerque Rapid Transit. She recently made the pro-ART “case” in the Albuquerque Journal. Coming soon, “The Case for Cancer!”

Basically, her argument comes down to this: buses (especially electric buses) are good for the environment. So, ART will all work out just fine (as long as the City uses electric buses).

The environmental argument for buses assumes that those buses will be full or at least ridden by a dozen or so people, but if you see buses throughout Albuquerque you’ll see empty or mostly-empty buses rolling down the road (as I see on Coors regularly).

Transit use is not declining. It is PLUMMETING nationwide including here in Albuquerque where the bus system’s ridership has gone down 25% since 2012.

While New Mexico’s transit supporters often blame our weak economy, as the chart below shows transit systems across the country are seeing big declines in ridership even over a short period of time in which the economy nationwide was pretty strong. Sorry Ms. Fiebelkorn, the ART is a boondoggle. With the spread of ride-sharing technologies and telecommuting, it isn’t coming back.

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2 Replies to “There ARE NO positives to the ART project”

  1. Decrease in transit use is tied to gas prices that were approaching $5/gal in 2012. As long as gas prices are low, more people can afford to drive. There was little concern for mass transit in post-war America with low gas prices in the 1950s and 1960s – even with large, heavy, gas-guzzling cars. The 1970s brought us the small Japanese cars. I had a Datsun 110. Who cares about mass transit and the environment with gas prices only 2-3 dollars?

  2. The universal truth that evades urban planners is that people use mass transit only when it: a) is the most convenient and economical discretionary choice; or b) when they have no other option.

    I just returned from a trip to Chicago. When I was staying downtown I got around by public transportation and rented a car for trips to the suburbs. When it was time to go to the airport on the other side of the city, public transportation was half an hour faster than driving.

    Mass transit has no future in New Mexico unless it competes successfully with driving. ART will attract a limited ridership as the transit of last resort for students, the car-less and the homeless. Everybody else will continue to drive.

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