Blue Buses See Record Number Of Riders In FY 2017

by Staff Reporter / Aug 04, 2017 / comments
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Blue Buses See Record Number Of Riders In FY 2017

The North Central Regional Transit District (NCRTD), known as the RTD “Blue Bus,” has posted a 6.1 percent increase in ridership in its fiscal year (FY) 2017, which ran from July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2017, setting its highest number of trips in a given year.

Passenger trips for all NCRTD-operated routes totaled 284,285 in FY2017 over a total of 268,050 in FY2016. NCRTD provides service on 24 fixed routes throughout North Central New Mexico, two demand response routes, one dial-a-ride service, and complimentary paratransit service in the Taos area.

Among the routes seeing the greatest increase in passenger trips were the 100 Riverside and 110 Westside/Crosstown in Española, the 255 Mountain Trail to Ski Santa Fe, 341 TSV Green to Taos Ski Valley, 190 Chama Route, 320 Questa Route and 150 Chimayo Route.

Earlier this year, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) reported that, nationally, in calendar year 2016, unlinked transit passenger trips among bus systems providing between 100,000 to 499,000 trips saw an average decrease of 5.7 percent across the United States.

“We’re very pleased to be counteracting the national trend and posting increased ridership for NCRTD-operated routes,” commented Executive Director Anthony Mortillaro. “Reduced gas prices nationwide have played a big role in decreased bus transit ridership numbers, which might make it easier for some commuters to fill up their tanks and drive, but it doesn’t do anything to reduce the carbon being released into the atmosphere, nor reduce the amount of wear and tear on our highways and roads.”

Mortillaro continued, “With a national decrease in ridership for bus public transit overall, it is especially gratifying to see this increase in rural north central New Mexico as it, hopefully, reflects a growing acceptance of alternate means of transportation.”   

According to the APTA’s June Transit Savings Report, individuals who ride public transportation instead of driving can save an average (nationally) of $9,797 annually.  Those savings are based on the cost of commuting by public transportation compared to the cost of owning and driving a vehicle.

The North Central Regional Transit District provides fare-free and premium fare bus service Monday through Friday to a service area that encompasses over 10,000 square miles of north central New Mexico including the counties of Taos, Los Alamos, Rio Arriba and Santa Fe; the Cities of Santa Fe and Española and the Towns of Taos and Edgewood; as well as the Pueblos of Pojoaque, Ohkay Owingeh, Nambé, San Ildefonso, Santa Clara and Tesuque. The agency’s signature “RTD Blue Buses” provide additional transit connections to New Mexico Rail Runner, Santa Fe Trails, New Mexico Park and Ride, Los Alamos Atomic City Transit, Taos RTD Chile Line and Red River Miner’s Transit.