ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The City of Albuquerque is spending millions to spruce up ART stations and is also building a new one to try to attract more riders to the struggling bus system. The ART station on Central and San Pedro has remained a concrete slab for a couple of years. Construction started on Monday to finish it and get it up and running.    

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“So we’re planning on putting a canopy on it, making it operational, putting some electronics on it and our department of municipal development putting a HAWK signal so people can access that stop safely,” Danny Holcomb, the transit director for the city.

Holcomb said they also plan on making upgrades to other ART stations. The total price tag is $3.3 million. Bringing the Central and San Pedro station to life will account for about a third of that the city will also be adding canopies to the stations in east downtown, west downtown, and Old Town. They’ll also get upgraded lighting and electronics.

Former Mayor R.J. Berry’s controversial ART system has struggled to take off. The Keller administration has continually said they’ll try to make the best of it.

“When this was first announced that we were going to be operational with ART, the mayor talked about making lemonade from lemons and I can’t say we’re quite at lemonade yet but we’re a heck of a lot closer,” said Holcomb.

Those three stations getting facelifts and the art lanes next to them will be closed during the construction. Everything should be done in about two months. The new San Pedro station should also be done around then. 

The Transit Department said ridership is slowly starting to come back after a down year in 2020. Starting January 1, all buses will be free for a year.