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ART Start Set for Saturday, November 30

Mayor: “ART finally leaving the station.” Full service starts Small Business Saturday, free rides through December

The City of Albuquerque announced today that ART will begin full service on the Central corridor beginning Saturday, November 30 on Small Business Saturday.  

Mayor Tim Keller and city officials made the announcement today at a news conference outside the Albuquerque Convention Center, in front of some of the world’s most colorful buses, that will be providing service on the ART corridor. The Transit department received, inspected and outfitted the buses with the necessary equipment, and provided driver training for the new route. Service will begin just in time for holiday shopping and events around the city.

“When we took responsibility for fixing this project, we recognized it was a little bit of a lemon. We’ve worked tirelessly to get it done right,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “In the process, we recovered $75 million for local taxpayers, rebuilt non-functional or inaccessible platforms, and secured a full fleet of 20 buses that would actually work in our system. Today, we’re turning the page and encouraging folks to come ride Albuquerque Rapid Transit on Small Business Saturday.”

The two ART routes (Route #766-ART Red Line and #777-ART Green Line) will begin service at 5:45 a.m. on the morning of November 30, replacing the two Rapid Ride routes that currently run on Central. Both routes will originate at the Central and Unser Center. The #766 will serve the Uptown Transit Center. The #777 will go down Central to Tramway. Service hours will be Monday through Friday, 5:45 a.m. — 9:30 p.m.; Saturday, 6 a.m. — 9 p.m.; and Sunday, 6:30 a.m. — 6:30 p.m.

Chief Operating Officer Lawrence Rael said, “This will be a work in progress, as we evaluate the safety and operational issues that may arise as the project evolves.”  In addition to the challenges this specific project has faced, based on what other cities have seen with their own projects, bus rapid transit efforts can take years to implement, adjust, and be fully accepted by the community.

Service on the ART route will be free through January 1, 2020 giving people an opportunity to use the service to shop local and learn the route. Regular fares begin after the New Year, and will be $1 per trip ($2 all day) and 35 cents for age 62+, mobility impaired or students aged 10 through high school. Passes can be purchased at the ART platforms or at the Alvarado Transportation Center.

“ART will bring twice the amount of service to the Westside than was provided by the Rapid Rides,” noted Transit Director Danny Holcomb. “To encourage use, we will have ambassadors on the first day at all Rapid Ride stops to help direct folks to the new ART platforms and guide them through the experience.”

ABQ RIDE will have complete practice runs of the ART buses on the corridor throughout the next three weeks.. The first buses will begin their runs after 5:00 a.m. and go until about 7:00 p.m. Since these exercises will be for timing and training purposes only. It will not carry any public passengers or news media.

Photos of the buses in the following link: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ine9wu5zyd0jgbm/AADsOIk2s74mQ0qeB-LDn7WMa?dl=0

ART News Conference-11-8-19

From left: Mayor Tim Keller, Transit Director Danny Holcomb, City Councilor Ken Sanchez and Albuquerque Chief Operating Officer Lawrence Rael.