ABQ Ride showcases nearly 100-year-old bus to encourage ridership

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A blast from the past is hitting Albuquerque’s streets this summer. It’s all part of a push to get people back on the bus. Before there was ABQ Ride, there was the Albuquerque Bus Company. Now, nearly 100 years later, the 1927 bus is hitting Albuquerque’s streets once again. 

“It’s a part of history, it’s what our transit service ran in the ’30s, it’s always good to look at nostalgia,” said Mario Portillo, the Division Manager for CABQ Transit Maintenance. The City of Albuquerque bought the bus back in 1998 from a private citizen and over the years has kept it in a transit department garage and refurbished it, keeping what makes it special intact.

“It’s a really cool bus, I mean it’s an old Model T,” said Mary McGillivray.

“I love this bus, I even took a picture of the bus,” said Cherry Ignacio.

It’s those types of reactions the city is hoping to get from the public to encourage them to get back on the bus after a year of experiencing some of the lowest ridership in recent years. “With COVID, it’s been down,” said Portillo “We had less capacity on the bus, less people obviously needing to travel with a lot of people working from home and school from home.”

Unfortunately, people will not be allowed to ride on the bus because it’s not up to safety standards for passengers. However, the city said they plan on driving it around town throughout the summer and said it will be making appearances at various events where people can step inside and take pictures. 

“If this is a vehicle that kind of brings some excitement to that,” said Portillo. “And shows that public transportation in Albuquerque has some uniqueness to it and it would be great to see them come out.” 

The city said they’re actually seeing an uptick in ridership now that restrictions are loosening. In fact, they’re in need of about 70 more bus drivers. To apply, visit cabq.gov/transit/news/now-hiring-transit-drive

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