ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The city is putting a lot of trust in ART riders to actually buy a ticket before hopping on board. The plan is to do random checks to make sure everyone on the bus has a ticket, but KRQE News 13 found that’s not happening.
In four separate rides on the ART Thursday morning, a ticket enforcer only once asked to see a ticket.
Every ride on the ART is supposed to start with the purchase of an ART ticket, either on the app or at an ART kiosk. When you board the bus you’re likely not going to be asked to present that ticket.
A KRQE crew boarded the bus at 6th and Copper, near the Main Library. They got off and on the bus four times. They saw at least a dozen passengers board the bus, at multiple stops, no one was asked to show their ticket unless they boarded curbside at Louisiana and Lomas. Those passengers paid their fare as they got on the bus.
So how does the city make sure people aren’t taking advantage of the system?
“If one of the transit enforcement officers approaches you and you don’t have a ticket, they can give you a warning the first time and issue a citation. So it could cost you a whole lot more in the end not to pay for a pass,” said Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis.
Davis says they hope passengers will be honest, but the city doesn’t expect to make much money from public transportation.
“The city’s transit budget is about $56 million, but we only get about $3.5 million from fares every year,” said Davis.
In fact, Davis says he’d eventually like to see Albuquerque public transportation be free.
KRQE News 13 asked the city how often transit workers are supposed to walk up and down the bus to do those random ticket checks, they said the frequency varies.
So if every passenger isn’t buying a ticket, how does the city know how many people are riding the bus? The city says the buses have devices that count passengers as they board.