ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – The public relations company for the much-delayed and much-maligned Albuquerque Rapid Transit buses made a big deal about the buses arriving in a convoy from California.
The problem: It was misleading.
The latest delivery of six ART buses paraded down I-40 Monday morning.
The news release from Agenda Global, the PR company representing the bus manufacturer, said the ART buses would be traveling from California to Albuquerque at 10 a.m.
However, the buses arrived Sunday night and Agenda Global said in an emailed statement it was a photo op.
The firm took the buses back out of the city’s yard Monday morning for the show, but the city didn’t know about the convoy plan until KRQE News 13 called.
It’s the latest PR move in the face of criticism over the project.
In January, Mayor Tim Keller listed off problems with the ART construction and the buses, calling the project “a bit of a lemon.”
BYD responded with a new conference, promising to work more closely with the city.
Agenda Global Vice President Gerges Scott said BYD communicates with the city on a regular basis and can’t speak to why there was confusion Monday.
Agenda Global said BYD’s next move is to get the charging stations certified.
The PR firm said that will be Tuesday, which was also news to the city.
The mayor’s office released a statement late Monday saying there are still issues with the first 10 buses that arrived, and the last four buses are still missing.
BYD had the right to take the buses out for a photo op because the city hasn’t bought them yet.
Those last four buses could be in Albuquerque in the next week or so.
A spokesperson for the ART construction on Central says that work should be done in a month or two, but there’s still no timeline for when the ART will be up and running.
BYD America released the following statement Monday:
BYD America continues to work closely with the City of Albuquerque to provide timely updates on ART bus deliveries, maintenance and manufacturing. A city inspector is stationed at BYD’s Lancaster, California facility where he examines completed buses and reports back to the city. With the city’s approval, we were pleased to deliver 6 of the 10 outstanding buses late yesterday and provided a photo opportunity of those buses today. We look forward to delivering the remaining 4 buses and will continue to work closely with the City of Albuquerque as they are shipped.