Public Transit is a Crucial Need in North Central New Mexico
Kathy Holian, former Santa Fe County Commissioner
When there is a critical need for a service, local governments must provide steadfast support to ensure that need is met. In North Central New Mexico, such a need is public transportation, and it is our job to continue supporting it as citizens of this region.
Public transit is absolutely critical to our region for a number of differing reasons. It is not only a stress-free way to get to work, it also saves people money, fuel, and reduces wear and tear on the roads. For those who cannot drive or don’t own a car, it may be their only way to get into town for important appointments or shopping. Luckily, the North Central Regional Transit District (NCRTD) provides service on 25 fixed and flex routes and 2 on-demand routes. Each year, they keep expanding into new regions in order to serve more and more individuals.
When I served as Santa Fe County Commissioner from 2009-2016, I really observed the demand for public transportation. Many small communities in northern Santa Fe County and Rio Arriba County are dependent on the NCRTD buses. Many people commute to work via bus service. Also, for many, it is the only way for them to go into town for medical appointments or for grocery shopping. The ridership numbers clearly demonstrate the depth of the demand for these services. In fiscal year 2017, the NCRTD celebrated record ridership and marked the largest number of passengers served within a given year since its inception. People need these services and use them.
As a Santa Fe County Commissioner, I also served as a member of the NCRTD Board for several years. The Board did a very good job of allocating resources to those communities that used the buses the most. The Board also gave a great deal of thought to routes and timing. No detail was overlooked. Additionally, this organization is very transparent and even has an interactive tool on their website in which users can explore financial data in various easy-to-use graphical formats. This helps keep the organization accountable to taxpayers and ensures money is being well spent.
It is more than obvious that the service the NCRTD provides fulfills a critical need for individuals in New Mexico. I can attest that the leadership at NCRTD is fiscally responsible, transparent, and serves with the overall vision of bettering our region. However, they need taxpayers’ backing in order to do so. I encourage everyone to continue to support it by voting “yes” for the reauthorization of funding for NCRTD.