ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Driving down Central or just looking at the city’s 311 website will show the constant problems at the ART bus stations, from trash and graffiti to broken equipment. Officials said they’re having issues keeping up.
The city said they aren’t able to persistently work on cleanup and repairs at stations. With the conditions, some riders said, at times, it deterred them from taking the bus.
“Sometimes, there’s liquids on the ground that I can’t really identify, and it gets a little disconcerting for my safety. My best guess is probably that it would be urine because sometimes I’ll walk around it, the smell is a little off if my shoe gets into it. It will feel a little sticky, so I think that might be it,” said Jesus Sanchez.
On top of encountering unknown liquids and substances as they wait for the bus to arrive, riders are also faced with smashed display screens, trash, empty food containers, and endless graffiti at the stations, even on the crosswalk buttons.
Just months after the ART system opened to the public in 2019, the city reported vandals had targeted the pay stations, forcing them to replace monitors and ticket vending machines.
“I don’t think the Zero Fares Program is a problem at all. I think it’s a positive thing for a lot of people and the environment as a whole. I just think it needs to be paired with better safety protocols,” added Sanchez.
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The Transit Department said they usually have 11 people in their bus stop cleanup crews who go out for daily cleanup. However, a spokesperson for the department said they are short-staffed with only four employees in their cleanup crew.
As KRQE reported earlier this week, city councilors are pushing for more security in the buses and around the bus stops.