New Mexico Rail Runner Express passengers can connect to more than 60 buses throughout the 100-mile rail corridor. This month, we are highlighting transit partner ABQ RIDE, which operates buses throughout Albuquerque, many of which you can transfer to and from the four Albuquerque area train stations.
“ABQ RIDE started in the 1920s as the Albuquerque Bus Company,” said Megan Holcomb, Marketing and Communications Specialist for ABQ RIDE, which is operated by the City of Albuquerque.
According to Holcomb, there were originally only two buses, but the need for transportation grew and the service expanded with the population. In 1965 the Albuquerque Bus Company became part of the City of Albuquerque, and the service area as well as the types of transportation provided has continued to grow ever since.
Routes and Services
Currently, ABQ RIDE offers the following routes and services:
- 40 fixed bus routes, many of which operate 7 days a week
- 2 Rapid Transit routes, known to the locals as Albuquerque Rapid Transit or ART
- Sun Van, an accessible transportation service for those whose impairment makes it impossible to ride the fixed route service (individuals must qualify and apply to ride Sun Van)
One of ABQ RIDE’s newest programs is the Zero Fares Pilot Program. This program makes all of their services free to ride, enabling more people to use the transit system to get to work, school, appointments, and more.
The pilot program was implemented in January 2022. While it was originally slated to be in place for one year, the timeframe for Zero Fares was recently extended and it is now effective through June 30, 2023. “The extension gives us more time to collect data on how the program is working and compare it year over year,” said Holcomb.
Ride for Work, Ride for Fun
Many people associate city buses with a daily commute. And while folks continue to hop onboard to get to their workplace or school and back home, the way people are riding has shifted since the start of the pandemic.
“Prior to March 2020 our peak ridership hours were early morning and late afternoon,” said Holcomb. “Since then, it has shifted more to mid-day ridership.” To complement this, ABQ RIDE’s marketing team developed the idea of promoting a different route each week.
“We have been working with The Wilderness Society to promote routes that go to different places around the city, such as the BioPark and Open Spaces, to encourage folks to use our services not only for work or school, but also to get to other places in the city and enjoy the fun things Albuquerque has to offer,” said Holcomb.
Follow them on Twitter to learn more about their latest route of the week.
Another fun activity that locals associate with ABQ RIDE is the annual Luminaria Tour that traditionally takes place on Christmas Eve night. The tour typically starts in Downtown Albuquerque and travels through Old Town and the Albuquerque Country Club area, providing views of these beautifully decorated neighborhoods in the comfort and warmth of a bus. Details for this year’s tour haven’t been released yet, but keep an eye on their website as winter gets closer, as tickets tend to sell out quickly.
Stay Connected / Get Mobile
There are many ways to be in touch with ABQ RIDE to learn about services, view schedules, be informed about delays, and more.
• Visit their website
• Follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
• Check out videos on YouTube
They also offer a variety of mobile tools to help get you where you want to go from your phone, including recently being added to the national Transit App, which shows you all of the nearby routes and wait times.
Join the Team!
For those that want to do more than just ride the bus, ABQ RIDE is looking to add folks to their team. “We’re looking for Motorcoach Operators, Sun Van chauffeurs and Mechanics,” said Holcomb, who also indicated that the city recently implemented a raise and is also offering an incentive bonus. View postings on the City of Albuquerque’s careers website.