ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The City of Albuquerque wants to improve the transit system, so more people use it, but it comes amid a surge in violence on city buses that KRQE News 13 has highlighted.
Bus riders can now share their biggest concerns with transit in an online survey. Frequent bus riders say it’s about time something is done to improve it. “That it can be dirty. It’s kind of the only issue I’ve ever had, I haven’t had huge issues with the schedule. I may have had one or two buses have that haven’t made their schedule,” says UNM Student, Daniel Hurren. “Sometimes there’s pretty rough people that people will be alarmed by it,” says bus rider Gloria Torres.
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The Transit Department is hoping to make some big improvements with a plan called “ABQ Ride Forward.” Passengers say they’ve experienced unreliable routes and an increase in violence on city buses. ABQ Ride launched a new website seeking public input through a survey.They’re hoping to learn what’s most important for riders such as how often a person takes the bus, which routes are better than others, and public opinion on what should be the department’s highest priorities.
“This phase is really the phase that’s going to now get us more of the concerns and what those priorities are for people to, you know, help us direct how we make changes to the design of the transit system we currently have in place,” says Transit Director Leslie Keener.
Transit Director Leslie Keener says the nationwide bus driver shortage has also had an impact on the city’s bus system.
She says their current bus driver vacancy rate is at 45%. The driver shortage means buses can’t always run all of their posted routes. KRQE News 13 has heard similar complaints from passengers about being stranded along their commute.
ABQ Ride staff say there will be virtual community meetings about this project in the next month. People have until the end of October to fill out the transit survey online.
The Transit Department also announced it will partner with the Albuquerque Police Department to connect over a thousand of its bus cameras to the Real-Time Crime Center to better respond to incidents of violence. They expect to reveal more about that plan on Monday.