Who or What Politician or Organization would be Best to Petition for Expanded Bus Service in ABQ?

I've lived in and used public transit in Cleveland and Dayton, OH; I've had experience (while visiting) using public transportation (buses & trains) in Columbus, OH, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco and probaly a few other cities I'm forgetting... I can't get over the fact that here in Albuquerque, the buses completely shut down around 8:30 or 9 o'clock at night; weekends are even worse, with buses shutting down around 6 PM every Saturday and Sunday; then HOLIDAYS!!! No Service at ALL!!! EVERY other city I've had experience with at least runs a Sunday bus schedule on holidays... Not here in the Burque. Would Mayor Marty be the right one to petition for expanding bus service here? They took a step in the right direction with the Rapid Ride After Dark service over the summer, but that should be a year-round service; in fact it makes more sense to run that After Dark service during the regular school year when more students would be around to utilize it, no? Can someone suggest the best person or organization to formally petition for expanded bus service here in Albuquerque? Does anyone else feel the need or desire to get involved and perhaps start a signature petition drive asking for expanded bus service? Perhaps all that extra cash generated from the red light cameras can be put into the public transportation system- some for the Rail Runner and some for the buses (maybe even some for road repair/construction costs). Your thoughts and suggestions would be appreciated here.

Views: 22

Comment by Diego on November 21, 2007 at 9:09am
I am not sure about the safety, but wouldn't it help cut DWI arrests if buses were running on Central at bar hours? Marty Chavez would be the one to get the expansion going for more bus service.
Comment by Ben Roberts on November 21, 2007 at 9:29am
One of the big problems with the bus system in Albuquerque is under-reporting of problems. Everyone complains, but many people just complain to their friends, not everyone complains to the City directly.

Call 311 when you suffer harassment on the bus, when there are drunks on the bus causing issues, when the bus is not on time. Be nice to the person taking your report, and give them all the info they need, their job is just to take the call, and get it to the right department within the City.

Call every time. 311 records all calls and tracks them, and people are held accountable for calls in the 311 system. Hard to believe I know, but I've seen it work for other issues. Accountability and reporting is the first step in getting government to do their jobs - we're talking bureaucracy here right?

Case in point, my girlfriend was on a bus where someone was being drunk and disorderly, harassing female passengers, and eventually vomited all over the interior of the bus. So she called 311 and from there finally got through to the appropriate person at the transit department, who claimed he looked into the incident and that there were no other reports of the issue.

So either the transit folks were lying, or else no one took the time to call 311 and report the issue. Who's to say? But since 311 tracks calls its not in their interest to lie.

My point is, in order to get the politicos to take an issue seriously, there has to be a chain of documentation, or they can claim that "We don't have any reports of that."

So call 311, report your issue, and tell others to do the same. If 311 is getting a large volume of calls about public transit, its much easier when you DO get someone in Govt to look into it for them to justify trying to get more money and resources.

The whole point of 311 is that calls are logged, and can be followed up on. But if you want to talk to a real person, talk to the Customer Service Supervisor at the Transit department:

Nick Manole
100 1st Street SW
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87102
Phone: (505) 243-RIDE (7433)
Email: nmanole@cabq.gov
Comment by Lana on November 21, 2007 at 9:48am
I guess I accidently deleted my latest post. I clicked the little red "x".

I'm surprised that a city the size of ABQ doesn't have bus service at night. I would think that they could at least start with having Rapid Ride year round. Many urban areas with more crime than ABQ have bus service at night. I believe that the Dayton buses are monitored via camera. Plus, there is security at the downtown hub. Ben, your info is very helpful. I'll keep that in mind for when we move there! When we get to ABQ, we really want to be as car-less as possible.
Comment by once banned twice shy on November 21, 2007 at 10:27am
Al: Yeah, a lot of folks who live on the fringe ride the bus--these are disenfranchised people who have no other mode of transport. Most don't harrass anyone. Some do and those should be reported--do you think the bus drivers and the city transit department ENJOYS having troublemakers on the bus?

The problem with expanding bus hours is funding and all politicians will tell you that they are reluctant to spend money on a resource that is barely used. Of course, they ignore the possibility that if they expand service and beef up security, then more people will ride. Also, there is the idea that public transport is just one of those things that government SHOULD subsidize. It's an uphill battle, but I encourage Donny to pursue it.

I wouldn't suggest approaching Marty Chavez--I once suggested to him that he ride the bus once or twice a week to set an example for Albq. citizens and he rejected the idea out-of-hand. Of course, he also told me he couldn't possibly ride his bike to work because he sometimes leaves at night. Obviously, he's never seen those crazy bike lights they sell...
Comment by bleve on November 21, 2007 at 10:53am
There are the fringes of society on the bus... just like in every other city in America, deal with it... the more successful people that ride the bus the more the image will change. Expansion of the bus service is essential in Albuquerque. There is already a whole division in the City Government dedicated to security on the bus... my brother in law works security for the transit dept.

The best way to put pressure on is to form an organization and put pressure on the city council... this is an ideal forum to do that in. Form a group... then enlist different people from different districts that would be willing to go to the City Council meetings and bring it up in the citizen comment section of the meeting. Get people in each district to write emails and call their councilor's assistant and let them know this is important to people all over Albuquerque.... eventually get the City Council to bring it up as an agenda item... where your whole organization shows up in full force.

Councilor's generally listen to their constituency when there are numbers... if not force them to listen at the meetings.
Comment by bleve on November 21, 2007 at 10:56am
You can also propose to form a citizen committee that reports to the council about the state of the transit department. I was involved in one in a city in Florida, unfortunately the people that were appointed had never ridden the bus so it was a bit of a sham... so if you do form a committee you have to fight for a fair setup from the get go.

Hope you found some of this useful... there are a lot of cool possibilities now with DCF's new format!
Comment by bluejays47 on November 21, 2007 at 11:15am
Anyone who says the buses aren't popular has obviously never taken a bus up/down Central.

Anyway- big ups to the person who presented the contact info for Nick Manole. I had some questions about the way the bus schedules are printed, and he was very helpful; I could also tell that he sent my concerns on to the proper authorities.
Comment by Tony on November 21, 2007 at 11:42am
Great post and discussion. The city does have a Transit Advisory Board and a ParaTransit Board (for those users with special mobility needs). Both have some vacancies that need to be filled. These are advisory boards that meet to provide recomendations and advice to Mayor Chavez and the City Council on transit issues. If you are interested in serving please email me at tpedroncelli@cabq.gov

I will need to get more info from those who are interested in serving the community, it would be an appointment by Mayor Chavez that would then have to be confirmed by the City Council. Again, great post and comments. Looking forward to hearing from folks.
Comment by bleve on November 21, 2007 at 12:21pm
Thanks Tony, I should have looked it up. I've only been back in town for a couple of months. Would you mind posting any requirements or a link to who currently serves on the committee.

Also, seems like the committee should be appointed by the Council and then approved by the Mayor... I guess that's a point of contention with the council right now. Just seems like Marty's appointments are always political... the one I was involved in Florida were basically people in cahoots with the transit dept. so it was always reporting that everything was just dandy, even though those people didn't ride the bus and nobody showed up to their public meetings cause they didn't advertise it appropriately.
Comment by Donny Ozmund on November 21, 2007 at 7:06pm
A little good news: There are some schedule changes set to take place December 8, one of which is at least a step in the right direction for my own circumstances: The last #5 bus on weekdays will now leave downtown (Alvarado Trans. Ctr.) at 9:22 PM... That's about an hour "better" than the current weekday #5 schedule. (Now if that could just be extended even more to perhaps 12:22 for the last bus out!) I also notice that the Central Ave. bus runs until about 10 or 10:30 every day except Sunday - not too bad IF you happen to live along the Central Ave. corridor- but no connecting bus routes also run at that time. (The #66 too, though, should be extended to around 12:30 for the last bus out of downtown) Of course other connecting bus routes should also keep running just as late; high frequency isn't needed at the late hours- once every hour and a half would do. To repeat myself and Lana: the Rapid Ride After Dark should be year round service.

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