It’s too early for the state and Northern New Mexico to give up on its regional Blue Bus transportation system. Still, a report issued last week by the Legislative Finance Committee contains dismal numbers. They show that only 24 percent of bus seats are occupied and that costs per rider can be as much as $75 on some routes.
However, the system, established in 2009, has successes it can — and must — build upon. Operated by the North Central Regional Transit District, ridership has increased from 78,000 to 193,00 last year. That’s more than doubling in a region where people are bred to believe that individual cars and trucks are their birthright. More advertising and a public awareness campaign can attract even more riders on the system. The transit district — perhaps using public relations volunteers if money is tight — needs to innovate and develop strategies to draw more riders. People have to become more aware of what’s available. Getting buy-ins from employers, perhaps offering prizes for businesses whose workers take the Blue Bus or that offer work schedules that sync with bus schedules, could increase ridership. Use social media, too, and encourage riders to tweet or post to Facebook, or get the word out through the local newspaper. Work toward the goal of increasing awareness of the public’s transportation system.
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