ART bus drivers to start training; buses to go live this winter

It’s nine months late, but we may finally be close to seeing the ART project up and running very soon.

Monday, Mayor Tim Keller announced that training will begin to teach drivers how to operate the buses. That means, residents can’t use the bus lane as a turn lane.

ART stations might be up and working as soon as this winter. At least, that’s the projected timeline Mayor Keller announced Monday afternoon.

He also said it’s going to take a long time not only for the city to adjust, but drivers as well.

“It is going to take years for our city to learn how to essentially drive with this project, but we’re going to have to start. It’s just the reality of the project,” said Mayor Keller.

Keller also focused on the ART bus lanes. He says starting next week, bus drivers will be learning how to drive the buses.

That means Albuquerque Police will be patrolling and ticketing people that use the bus lane as a turn lane.

Also during Monday’s announcement, the city says there will be three charging stations for the buses around town. The buses were supposed to get 275 miles on one charge. The city says they only get about 177 miles.

Because of this, the company that built the buses will pay for the charging stations.

“Give us the opportunity to top off the tank in the true sense of the battery world, in that the buses are parked here waiting for their next route to start. They’ll get plugged into the buses and they’ll top off the battery as best they can,” said Lawrence Rael, Chief Operating Officer.

At the moment, the city is still waiting on $75 million from the Federal Transit Administration, but Mayor Keller says they have received $14 million, which will reimburse the city for money they’ve already spent to build the ART project.

It’s still up in the air on whether or not the city will get that $75 million. Mayor Keller says if that money doesn’t come in, money will have to be pulled from other projects to make up for the loss.

The bus charging stations will be at the Uptown, Tramway and Wenonah, and Unser and Central stations.

The mayor would not give an exact date on when ART would go online, just the winter timeframe.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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