Passenger boardings on Albuquerque buses and vans hit a new record over the past year, topping more than 13 million in the fiscal year that ended June 30.
Mayor Richard Berry credited a program that offers free rides to veterans who qualify as a factor in the increase, in addition to smartphone apps that make it easier to track buses and bus stops.
In April, the city started offering free rides to veterans who show their Veterans Affairs health identification card. There have been almost 68,000 such rides, according to the city.
"It obviously shows we identified a need in the community and were able to meet that need in a meaningful way," Berry said.
Overall, the city had a little over 13million passenger boardings in the past fiscal year, or about 1 percent more than in 2013. It's also more than in any other 12-month period "in Albuquerque's public transportation history," according to the city.
Smartphone applications, meanwhile, have saved the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in 311 calls from people asking where their bus is, Berry said during news conference outside City Hall.
The "ABQ Ride" app has been downloaded more than 21,000 times. The app and other technology services have helped reduce the number of transit-related calls to 311, city officials say. The city estimates each call to 311 costs about $1.86.
The city estimates it avoided about $364,000 in costs during the fiscal year because of the reduced call volume.
Copyright 2014 - Albuquerque Journal, N.M.