Park and Ride not available during Balloon Fiesta’s Special Shapes Day

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The wheels on the bus won’t be going round and round on the Thursday of Balloon Fiesta this year. 

The Balloon Fiesta Express Park and Ride won’t be an option on the popular Special Shapes Day. 

“Thursdays and Fridays have always had their unique traffic challenges,” said Tom Garrity, a Balloon Fiesta spokesperson. “It’s the work week, so we have to be able to have our guests share the road with folks heading into the office. So you always have that convergence of traffic that’s going to be occurring whether we have Park and Ride or not.” 

The problem lies with the Albuquerque Public School district’s fall break. 

Balloon Fiesta contracts with both APS and Rio Rancho Public Schools to have buses for the Park and Ride. 

However, APS high school students still have class on Thursday – the Special Shapes Day – meaning those APS buses aren’t available. 

Many people rely on that transportation to and from Balloon Fiesta Park. 

In fact, too many people wanted a ride in 2018. Some people were left stranded after they bought tickets, but there weren’t enough seats.

Garrity says they’ve only improved since then.

“We learned so much from 2018 that we’ve been applying even to today,” he said. “We really learned that we can’t sell a seat on the bus unless we have a bus. So for all the tickets we’ve sold we have all the busses we need.” 

Garrity says don’t panic about not having a ride Thursday, just call up your friends. 

“Carpool. It always makes sense to carpool to Balloon Fiesta. It’s always a smart thing to do,” he said.  

Or, dust off your bike. They’ve doubled bike valet this year.

“It doesn’t have to be a triathlon bike, it can be just a simple mountain bike or something you tool around the neighborhood with. Maybe park somewhere south of Balloon Fiesta and ride up the North Diversion Trail to Balloon Fiesta Park,” said Garrity. 

So far, this year Balloon Fiesta has 157 buses contracted for those days Park and Ride is available, but they’re still getting contracts in. 

In 2022, they had 206 buses in total. In 2021,156 buses.

For more information on tickets for Balloon Fiesta’s Park and Ride, click here