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Our View: Bus system needs a boost

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Posted: Monday, April 14, 2014 11:00 pm

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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4 comments:

  • Trevor Burrowes posted at 4:22 am on Wed, Apr 16, 2014.

    Trevor Burrowes Posts: 24

    That's your idea, not mine.

     
  • Francisco Carbajal posted at 6:19 pm on Tue, Apr 15, 2014.

    FranciscoCarbajal Posts: 219

    I think this "Blue Bus" is a good thing for Northern NM. Yet, the system needs conduct a good outreach program in rural areas where many people who do not live in the city limits can use the transportation system at best. A good media blitz with some radio ads, newspaper ads, facebook, tweets, etc., I am sure the rural citizens would buy into it big time! Let's keep this bus system in place and make it work for everyone. [wink]

     
  • Steve Salazar posted at 9:06 am on Tue, Apr 15, 2014.

    Steve Salazar Posts: 874

    And we need someone to pay for those groceries, and to pay for a chef to prepare them.

     
  • Trevor Burrowes posted at 8:52 am on Tue, Apr 15, 2014.

    Trevor Burrowes Posts: 24

    Thanks for this article. The Blue Bus, despite the need for more riders, is taking many cars off the road as is, thereby reducing road wear and tear. It is also reducing pollution and therefore health care and environmental costs. I wonder whether a true assessment of these usually hidden costs has been done?

    Finally, we need better coordination between bus routes and business opportunities. If the bus takes me from Cerrillos to Santa Fe Place, I must traverse Rodeo Road to get to a supermarket or any major store. If you're older or a kid and have never tried crossing Rodeo, don't bother. You have to run across to escape the constantly speeding traffic. Maybe, in addition to the blue bus, there needs to be a free shuttle to take individuals where they need to go, and return them in a timely manner to the bus. (We might get more riders if we have more and more frequent buses!)

    If the buses takes you to a hub like Santa Fe Place Plaza that meets very few of your needs, is there a way to help the plaza recruit those missing facilities? A library? A discount grocery store?

    By all means, let our community give a boost to the Blue Bus service!

     

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