Mayor Richard Berry wants to introduce bus-rapid transit to Albuquerque with a line along Central Avenue. While the idea of bus-rapid transit has merit, the city’s plan to dedicate lanes to buses and give buses priority over other traffic at signals will significantly increase the daily congestion faced by Albuquerque commuters.
With the help of Rapid Ride buses, commuter buses and other innovations, ABQ Ride has more than doubled Albuquerque transit ridership since 2000. Few other transit systems have such an impressive record of growth.
However, this growth didn’t come without a cost. The money the city spent operating ABQ Ride also more than doubled since 2000, and transit fares cover only about 12 percent of bus operations. Counting capital costs, each transit ride costs taxpayers more than $3.
Roads are subsidized too (subsidies I would like to end) but, because roads are so heavily used, those subsidies are relatively small when measured per user. Highway subsidies average two or three pennies per passenger mile, while subsidies to ABQ Riders average nearly 90 cents per passenger mile.
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