ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – In the latest chapter of the ART saga, the City of Albuquerque unveiled the new ART buses Wednesday. They should start hitting the streets in the next month or so for training, and then picking up passengers in the winter.
The new buses are cheaper and will be saving the city between $6 million and $7 million, and they’re hoping the leftover funds can go towards making improvements to the stations and making it easier for drivers to understand the rules.
“We’re spending a little less than $17 million for these buses, so we’re actually saving money,” CABQ Chief Operating Officer Lawrence Rael said.
It doesn’t take long to spot drivers making illegal left turns on Central and crossing through the ART lanes. Traffic enforcement will become a priority once the bus starts training. Until then, there will be more warnings.
In April, the city put a curb in the middle of Central near Atrisco to put an end to illegal left turns along that section of the ART corridor. Now, they say if drivers continue to ignore the rules, they’ll consider doing the same thing in other problem areas like Nob Hill.
“We will look at the entire corridor and look at ways to improve each section. There are still some areas that have a long section before you can make a turn,” Rael said.
Right now, the city is working with the feds to see what they can use the leftover funding for. If they get the approval, they’d also like to add canopies to the ART stops that don’t have them.
Unlike the original electric buses, the new fleet can also be used along other routes. The city is also planning to use them for special events, like Balloon Fiesta and River of Lights.