Sunday, November 22, 2009

Mayor Martin J. Chávez

BUS STORY # 160 (A Thanksgiving Thank You Note)

On December 1, we’ll have a new mayor and a new director of ABQ RIDE.

I’d like to take this opportunity to recognize and thank the outgoing mayor, Martin Chávez – “Mayor Marty” – and outgoing ABQ RIDE Director, Greg Payne, for their efforts and successes in advancing the quality of public transportation here in Albuquerque.

In the three and a half years I’ve been riding the bus, there have been over a hundred new buses introduced to the fleet. Most of these replaced the old 100s and 200s introduced at the end of the 1980s. These were diesel-powered and had no wheelchair access.

The new buses, besides being ADA-compliant, are diesel-electric hybrids, a reflection of the overall “green” emphasis of the Chávez administration in city services and infrastructure.

24 of those new buses are the articulated buses introduced along with limited-stop express service of one, then two, and now three Rapid Ride lines. This particular innovation has made using the bus a practical option for many of us, particularly for getting to work or school (or both, in the case of one of my co-riders).

Another innovation has been the Rapid After Dark. Every Friday and Saturday, from June 5 to September 5, the Red Line runs till 2:30 a.m. rather than going to bed before 10:00 p.m. The route covers Uptown, Nob Hill, the University area, and downtown.

Attention has been paid to make the bus and the bus stops safe places.

Online access to schedules and services on the city website is quick and easy to understand and navigate.

And we now have a serviceable trip planner for those needing help figuring out how to get from point A to point B.

While the astute pursuit of federal funds has provided the bulk of our rolling stock and infrastructure, the city also proposed and advocated for renewal of the local transportation tax. Further, it increased the allotment of that tax from 20% to 36% to ABQ Ride.

ABQ RIDE has certainly pursued advertising revenue. Although not everybody is happy about it, bus wrap advertising (in addition to the traditional sideboards, bus backs, and aisle posters) has also increased revenue.

The improvements that I value most are the marked decrease in the number of no-shows at the bus stop, and the notable improvement in punctuality. I know the former is likely attributable to the replacement of the old buses by the new ones. But I believe the improved punctuality was an ABQ RIDE initiative, and I am not the only rider who is grateful for the advocacy on our behalf.

The new mayor, Richard Barry, and the new director, Bruce Rizzieri, are inheriting an ABQ RIDE that has been well positioned and, I believe, very well cared for. I’ve seen enough news stories and bus blogs to know the riders in many metropolitan areas aren’t nearly so fortunate as we have been these past several years.

Marty, Greg: thank you.

The two photos at the top of this story are from the city website at and


Blogger JM said...

Will you email or print out and send to both these men? I imagine folks in office hear 100 complaints for every 1 compliment.

9:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:57 PM  
Blogger Busboy said...

@ JM: Thanks for the suggestion. I will. More, I invite anyone reading this blog and sharing this same sense of appreciation to send the link to this post – or much better, write your own thank you note – to Marty and Greg. Here are their email addresses: Martin Chávez: Greg Payne:

@ Anonymous: Thanks for sending this link to a November 16 Albuquerque Journal article which is displayed on the ABQ website. I’m going to try and read your mind here: You thought this would be an excellent supplement to my post. I agree. Also, I see the data in the article came from the Mid-Region Council of Governments. Our new director has been the regional transit manager at the MRCOG. I would think that bodes well for a continuation of the pursuit of integrated regional transportation as well as the continued development of a robust Albuquerque public transportation network. Thank you for pointing this link out.

Finally, Phil_0 from the ABQ Bus Riders Discussion Forum in DukeCityFix posted this link to a nice Journal story about Greg Payne’s resignation:

5:03 PM  

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