ABQ Ride disputes census figures

Posted at: 07/29/2013 6:36 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Only a tiny fraction of people in the Albuquerque metro area use public transportation to get to work – so says the U.S. Census Bureau – but city transit officials are skeptical about that, to say the least.

In fact, the ABQ RIDE bus system is averaging more than a million passengers a month. Ridership has been climbing since 2007 and shows no sign of slowing down.

Brianna Sanchez takes the bus to work.

“With the gas prices going up, it’s almost what, four dollars now? It’s cheaper just to buy a day pass for two dollars,” Sanchez said while waiting for a bus at the main terminal downtown.

ABQ RIDE officials just don’t buy the Census figures.

“It’s unreal because we have been on the up and up and up,” said ABQ RIDE information officer Rick DeReyes. “More People taking public transportation in Albuquerque than ever before, so to be confronted with something like this is mind-blowing!”

In fact city buses haul a lot of people who aren’t necessarily going to work – students, for example.

“I basically live on the northeast side of town,” said Marcus McGee. “I’m a student at ABU Barber Academy, and it’s a dollar so the fare is very affordable and very good.”

“Being a student, you’re able to get free bus passes just by using your student ID,” said CNM student Kay Chee. “It makes it super-convenient.”

The Census Bureau found more people walking to work than riding the bus in the Albuquerque metro. Nobody we talked to believes that.

In 2012, Albuquerque’s bus system had more than 13 million passengers – a new record.