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Comment by neal copperman on December 30, 2008 at 11:29am
I think you nailed it on the head. Never underestimate the value of free.

I'd bet you a sopa & honey (or maybe a Joe Sausage!) that the ridership will drop 60% once the fares kick in.

I'm riding down to Belen today. RR ride number 2 for me. I've only been on weekdays though. I'd rather pay and have a seat!
Comment by once banned twice shy on December 30, 2008 at 12:04pm
You know what kills me about those popular FREE rides on the Railrunner? That people actually have the balls to complain that they had to stand on the FREE train--or wait for another FREE train after their first, desired FREE train pulled in and was too full. People have a very odd sense of entitlement, they do.

I am hoping ridership doesn't go down, but certainly we won't see the standing-room only crowds. Personally, I am hoping for service to expand to at least a couple of trains a day on Sundays...keeping fingers crossed.
Comment by Dr Dan on December 30, 2008 at 12:30pm
any state employees take advantage of the Lt. Gov's offer?
Comment by slamwagon on December 30, 2008 at 2:59pm
Hey man... we paid to ride yesterday... not free... standing room only. Tomasita's did not disappoint.
Comment by Sarahjmd on December 30, 2008 at 3:25pm
While I am sure that most of those riders were there for the newness and the freebee, the cost is way better that the price of gas, (especially when the psychic lady predicted that totally unpredictable price increase for gas, and not the RailRunner tickets. You pay by the number of zones you go through. From Los Ranchos in the North Valley to the Santa Fe Depot or South Capital stop it is only $7 for a day pass round trip, with a dollar off if you buy online. That is the top price and it gets even better if you do monthly, annually, or qualify for a reduced fare. I bet it will be real popular at these prices.
Comment by once banned twice shy on December 30, 2008 at 4:04pm
Slamwagon: well, that's news I like to hear! Well, maybe not for people who want to pay and get a seat, but great for the popularity of the RailRunner. Specifically, though, the complaints I heard was on the news from people getting the FREE rides.
Comment by pepeye on December 30, 2008 at 4:58pm
I started riding the RR to work in Santa Fe on its first day of service and have taken it every day since then (except 12/26 when it was closed). Everything about it has been fantastic (except for the time we hit a cow on the way back to ABQ).

Not only is the RR significantly cheaper for me to ride, I have also been given back the gift of that time I used to spend driving which I now get to spend doing other things, not to mention being relieved of having to deal with the crazies on I25.

It's a complete win from my point of view. I'd say that many others agree with me since weekday ridership has been very good. Seats are getting pretty scarce on the ride back to ABQ in the evening.

It will take time to see how the RR works its way into the daily lives of New Mexicans, but the early signs are very good. Things will settle down some after the holidays and free rides are over. But the naysayers should give up on the idea that they will become ghost trains starting next week. And a likely uptick in gas prices will drive even more people to the train.
Comment by Brendan on December 30, 2008 at 8:07pm
We took the RR to Santa Fe and back today (512 up, 511 down). Standing room only both ways.
Comment by Khan on December 30, 2008 at 9:48pm
@ Brother Brendan - Ditto. We rode today, which was a fare day, and it was packed to the gills going up (#512 at 10:37, were you the guy with the jacket on, B?). We took a later train home, #517 departing SF at 6:37. It wasn't full going back, but there were a good number of people on. The train up, at several stations heading north, crowds were actually turned away. They could have easily filled another car.

Yeah, after some time, we won't have such droves of slack-jawed local yokels, but more and more people are going to figure out how to make it work for their commute, and now with the airport station we will see them fureigner tourista types making use, too. I think this is going to work. And in 5 years when there's another 100,000 people off the coasts living in the corridor, we'll be glad we got it going when we did.

Rail Runner, Oi!
Comment by neal copperman on December 30, 2008 at 9:49pm
I took it to Belen today. Luckily (I mean, selfishly!), everyone got off in Albuquerque and we had a pretty open train for ourselves.

No matter what the future brings in terms of ridership, it's definitely been fun and exciting to have the train running these last few weeks. The enthusiasm when you go to take the train is striking and contagious.

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