Albuquerque councilors defer vote on replacing zero fare bus program

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Albuquerque city councilors have deferred the vote to replace the zero fare program Monday evening. They say the passes would still be free, but they are hoping the change to a bus pass system will make riders more accountable for what is happening on city buses.

The first bill would take away the zero fare program for all and start charging riders $1, unless they have filled out the paper work for a free bus pass.

City Councilor Dan Lewis said because of the zero fare program there was no way for the city to track rider ship, and that he hopes the passes will fix that.

Earlier this year, councilors Lewis and Klarissa Peña hopped on a bus themselves and they were not happy with what they saw. Both Lewis and Peña said they could only describe our bus system as dirty and unsafe.

“The bus driver, when we got off on our final stop was saying that, you know, he really wanted some security on the bus. So that’s, that’s one of the issues. But the other issues is cleanliness, maintenance of the stations, proper lighting,” said Peña. 

And because of that conversation with the bus driver, Peña introduced a second bill that will also be voted on Monday night. It would require the transit department to put together a report, documenting all calls for service either on busses, or at the stops, so the city can work on a long term security plan for our transit system