City councilor proposes ordinances to help promote safety for ART buses

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – There are a lot of rules when it comes to riding the city’s new Albuquerque Rapid Transit, and if riders don’t follow the rules it could cost them.

City Councilor Ken Sanchez admits ridership on city buses has been on the decline for years, but that’s not what city leaders want to anticipate for the new $119 million investment.

They’re hoping a set of ordinances will help.

“We want to make sure that those people who are riding, the passengers, feel safe,” Sanchez said.

Councilor Isaac Benton is the councilor sponsoring the legislation. Sanchez said the list of proposed “revised ordinances” will promote the safety and welfare of riders.

One would ban people from “hanging out” at ART bus stations.

“Only those people who are riding a bus will be able to stay and park themselves at the stations until a bus comes to pick them up,” Sanchez said. “Nobody can just hang out there and spend the afternoon under the shade.”

Any person in violation could be cited and charged with a misdemeanor. This also includes the times “outside the designated public transit service hours.”

Also, if a person tries to skip out on paying for a ride, he or she can be slapped with an even steeper fine.

According to Sanchez, “$199 would be the minimum fine or up to $500 or 90 days in jail…We hope that never happens.”

The last ordinance prohibits people from smoking at the ART bus stations.

“They will be monitoring that and that’s how they will enforce it,” Sanchez said.

“They” are the newly hired security officers. The city hired 13 new security officers just for ART buses alone. They will be stationed on the buses and rotate to the different stops along the route.

“It’s important that we get the numbers back up because the bus system never pays for itself,” Sanchez said. “We want to make sure people feel safe in an environment they’re going to ride to-and-from work.”

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