Free bus fare could go away with ABQ City Council vote
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque city councilors have a lot to go over during their Dec. 5 meeting, including the possibility that the free ABQ Ride fares may go away.
Councilors Dan Lewis and Klarissa Peña are pushing a proposal to get rid of the city’s free bus fare program and replace it with a bus pass. The pass would make it cost only $1 to ride city buses and that money would be used to increase security across the bus network.
The proposal details a 25% increase in security calls in just the first few months after the free bus fare program was launched. The state attorney general’s office also claims the shoplifters are using the free buses as getaway vehicles and councilors believe increasing the price could keep away those bad actors.
“We want to make sure that it’s just safe and clean for everyone who decides to ride the bus, whether it’s someone who’s homeless, or whether it’s a student or a woman trying to get her doctor’s appointments,” Councilor Peña said.
City councilors are also set to discuss developing a long-term security plan for Albuquerque’s Transit Department, but that might happen until January.
Councilor Brook Bassan also is bringing attention to Safe Outdoor Spaces as she wants to erase that phrase from the city’s zoning laws – even though several Safe Outdoor Spaces are already up and running.
The proposal was first introduced as a way to quash the controversial project in the long term, but the Council’s Land Use, Planning and Zoning Committee is recommending councilors vote “No” on the proposal.
Councilors are also expected to vote on designating parts of Central, near UNM, as a “Metropolitan Redevelopment Area” to spur new economic activity.
All these items will be discussed during the Albuquerque City Council’s virtual meeting, which starts at 5 p.m. and can be viewed here.