City Council votes in favor of instituting permanent free fares on all fixed routes
ALBUQUERQUE, NM — The Albuquerque City Council made a historic vote tonight to permanently institute Zero Fares on all ABQ Ride fixed transit routes.
The Zero Fares Coalition applauds the City Council for continuing to prioritize the transit needs of Albuquerque residents and for a commitment to enhancing the transit system writ large.
“We thank the City Council for their leadership in taking bold action. This is a huge win for our community and the thousands of people who benefit from Zero Fares, like youth, seniors, families, essential workers and people with disabilities – many of whom live on extremely low incomes,” said Anita Córdova, Albuquerque Affordable Housing Coalition board president. “Now that public transit is free indefinitely, we know with certainty more Burqueños can get to the places they need to thrive while being able to direct limited cash to uses like housing and utilities.”
The City Council voted 6-3 in favor of making Zero Fares permanent. This vote follows a recent decision to permanently institute free fares on ABQ Ride’s Sun Van and ART lines.
A valued public asset, the Zero Fares program connects low-income communities of color to education, employment and recreation while supporting healthy lifestyle choices. The program increases mobility, boosts local economies, enhances quality of life, improves community health and mitigates unnecessary climate impacts.
“Permanent Zero Fares is the culmination of decades of community activism, years of advocacy from the Zero Fares Coalition and strong, committed leadership from our City Council. This is a moment worth celebrating but not the end of our journey to creating the equitable transit system that Burqueños deserve,” said Christopher Ramirez, Together for Brothers executive director and co-founder. “As we look toward a future of mobility sovereignty, we know there are even more upgrades needed to serve the people who benefit most from public transit. Let's get to work.”
Now that the entire ABQ RIDE network is free, city leaders, advocates and engaged residents can work to address other needed service enhancements. Opportunities include recruiting and retaining Transit Department staff like bus drivers and maintenance workers; continued maintenance and upkeep of buses and bus stops; implementing community-driven public safety measures; expanding coverage area, frequency of stops and hours of operation; and more.
These existing challenges are within our means to address. Yet, that success depends on the ability of city leaders, advocates and impacted communities to work together in finding solutions. The Zero Fares Coalition looks forward to continued partnership on envisioning and implementing a sustainable transit future that puts Burqueños first.
Based out of Albuquerque, the Zero Fares Coalition consists of the following partner organizations: Albuquerque Affordable Housing Coalition, Catholic Charities, ENLACE, Health Equity Council, Hope Works, IDHCC, Keshet, La Plazita Institute, Naeva, New Day New Mexico, Black Leadership Council, New Mexico Dream Team, Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter, The Semilla Project, The Wilderness Society, Three Sisters Kitchen, Together for Brothers, Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico, Working Classroom, Working Families