ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The city’s Transit Department is hoping to change the overall perspective on how riders view city buses and encourage more people to take public transportation.
An ad campaign launched in May by ABQ Ride is working to address misconceptions and dispel what the city calls “myths versus facts” when it comes to negative opinions surrounding the city’s transit system.
“The biggest myth of all is that ABQ Ride is not safe. We just want to make sure that the public is aware of all of that and is aware that ABQ ride is a safe system and is really welcome to all,” said ABQ Ride Spokesperson, Megan Holcomb.
Some Albuquerque bus riders said they have mixed opinions about city buses, saying while the Zero Fares program is convenient, the transportation itself can have its downsides.
“Sometimes, there is harassment that is really not seen on the bus, and sometimes I see it and really listen to what goes on,” said one Albuquerque bus rider.
While Holcomb admits there’ve been some challenges along the way, she said they’ve increased their own incident reporting which has contributed to the perception of crime on buses, maintaining an overall stance. “One negative thing doesn’t make the whole system negative.”
“Some of it has to do with retail crime in ABQ Ride. When those sorts of stories come out it kind of looks like that is the case with the entire system, and it’s really not that we have challenges just like any other industry,” Holcomb said.
The city said it increased safety measures, including cameras, security checks, and now has APD taking over transit security. hoping this campaign will only add to that, showing riders safety is a top priority.
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“With these myths vs. facts, we are really hoping to kind of turn that around and shine a positive light on ABQ Ride and hopefully, encourage more folks to hop on and ride with us,” Holcomb said.
Holcomb said the number of bus riders is steadily continuing to grow, but it’s still not meeting pre-pandemic levels. The hope is the new campaign will help reach that goal.