Starting Jan. 1, 2022, ABQ Ride, ART and Sun Van in Albuquerque, N.M., will be free to ride as part of the city’s Zero Fares Pilot Program.
“ABQ RIDE is working hard to make sure this pilot program is successful,” said Interim Transit Director of ABQ RIDE Stephanie Dominguez. “As a department, we remain committed to making public transportation accessible to everyone in our community. This pilot program helps fulfill that, in addition to the many other positive impacts we expect it will have.”
“Access to safe, affordable public transit is one of the best ways for us to create a more inclusive, equitable city and an economy that works for everyone,” said Director of the Office of Equity and Inclusion Michelle Melendez. “This zero-fare pilot will enable many more people to use the transit system to get to school, work and other places they need to go to participate fully in everything our city has to offer.”
Not only is zero fares a step in the right direction for an equitable public transportation system, but it’s a way to reduce traffic, assist the city’s economic development, promote a healthy lifestyle, boost ridership and have a positive environmental impact.
Christopher Ramirez, executive director and co-founder of Together for Brothers (T4B), says the approval of zero fares is the result of more than four years of advocacy by T4B, community partners, the Transit Advisory Board, as well as city staff and elected officials.
“I am proud that Albuquerque is moving one step forward towards transit equity and look forward to making this a permanent commitment to transit dependent communities and bus riders,” said Ramirez.
On Sept. 20, 2020, the city council formalized the use of the one-time, non-recurring appropriation of $3 million to fund the pilot program. Throughout the year, ABQ RIDE will collect data on ridership numbers, security incidents, cost and feedback from passengers to help determine whether or not the program will continue beyond Dec. 31, 2022.