Proposed task force includes dedicated crew for ART route maintenance

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – City crews are constantly cleaning up the mess left around the more than two dozen Albuquerque Rapid Transit stops. Now, the mayor has a plan to get more help making the route look even nicer.

The proposed budget for the coming fiscal year includes creating an illegal dumpsite task force. That includes a cleaning crew just for the ART route.

“Having that crew dedicated to the medians and the ART route would be great and then having another crew that we can deploy in the city will even help the rest of the city as well,” Solid Waste Director Matthew Whelan explained.

Whelan said $400,000 proposed for the so-called Illegal Dumping Crew would go toward cleaning the medians along the ART route every day, and another group would clean illegal dumpsites across the city reported through the 311 app. Right now, Solid Waste is relying on their other city cleaning crews to pick up the ART route, which can take them away from large item pickups, neighborhoods, and highway cleanups, according to Whelan.

KRQE News 13 drove along the entire stretch of the ART route Thursday and saw a few of those medians collecting everything from leftover food containers to alcohol bottles and trash bags. The worst of it is was off Louisiana by the fairgrounds, San Mateo, and by the University of New Mexico.

The Transit Department, which oversees cleaning of ART platforms, said moving forward, the department will keep an eye on which areas will continue to need cleaning.

“As far as we’re concerned, there’s always need for improvement,” Transit Spokesperson Ava Montoya stated. “So, definitely some extra attention could be paid to certain stops and we look forward to analyzing that again as things open up and traffic picks up to definitely to pay some attention to where is in need of extra maintenance.”

The Transit Department has two maintenance workers who are responsible for cleaning all of the station platforms. They all looked pretty spotless on Thursday, with the exception of a shopping cart left behind at the one on San Mateo.

The department said it’s hopeful this task force’s effort could also help get more people to ride ART. Ridership was up about 30% last month from February, with more than 106,000 people riding ART.

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