Rapid Ride is the name of an express bus service with some bus rapid transit features in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Inaugurated on December 21, 2004, Rapid Ride was intended to provide a faster and more efficient means of public transit in Albuquerque and to serve as a pilot project for a potential light rail line. It is operated by the local transit agency, ABQ RIDE.
Beginning with one 11-mile route, growing ridership led to the opening of a second route in 2007 and a third route in 2009. By March 2008, Rapid Ride had carried five million passengers.
- 1 Service
- 2 Fleet
- 3 Ridership
- 4 History
- 5 List of Rapid Ride bus routes and connections
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Rapid Ride serves three routes: The 766 ("Red Line") runs along Central Avenue from Unser Boulevard to Louisiana Boulevard, then north to the Uptown Transit Center; the 790 ("Blue Line") which runs from the University of New Mexico west down Lomas Boulevard, north on Rio Grande Boulevard, west on Interstate-40, and then north on Coors Boulevard past the Cottonwood Mall to the Northwest Transit Center; and the 777 ("Green Line") runs along Central Avenue from Downtown Albuquerque to Tramway Boulevard.
Stops are about a mile apart at specially designated Rapid Ride stations rather than the normal city bus stops, which are about two blocks apart. Service varies by route. The Red and Green lines operate from 6:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays with buses scheduled every 15 minutes during the week and every 20 minutes on Saturdays, with more limited service on Sundays. The Blue Line operates from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on weekdays with buses scheduled every 12 to 30 minutes depending on time of day, with more limited service on Saturdays.
Almost every route within the ABQ RIDE system, with the exception of #222, connects to a Rapid Ride route, either at one of the Transit Centers, or along its route (usually either on Central Avenue or on Coors Boulevard).
In the case of the Central Avenue Corridor, both the 766 and 777 lines, in part or whole, supplement the multiple-stop 66 Central route, one of the busiest routes in the ABQ Ride system.
Rapid Ride operates only slightly like a BRT, as the buses run in regular traffic (except for a one mile stretch for westbound buses at the UNM campus), only have signal priority in a few areas, and do not have pre-boarding fare payment. The buses, however, are low floor, have accessible features such as a quick deploying ramp and kneeling, and stations are spread out roughly a mile apart, except in downtown where there are 6 stations. The buses and stations have free Wi-Fi provided by the city. Bus schedules on the 766 Red Line, 777 Green Line, combined with the 66 Central Route are frequent and situated so that buses reach stations roughly every 7-10 minutes between Downtown and Louisiana, and every 10-15 minutes between Wyoming and Tramway and between Rio Grande and Unser.
The Rapid Ride fleet currently consists of 18 New Flyer DE60LF and 6 New Flyer DE60LFR articulated 60-foot low floor buses, which are painted in ABQ RIDE's red and gold color scheme. All Rapid Ride buses have free wireless internet access and are also equipped with Digital Recorders automated stop announcement systems and TwinVision LED destination signs. The front destination signs feature a multicolor route number display and orange route name display. The route number is displayed in red for the Rapid Ride Route 766, blue for Route 790, and in green for Route 777. The side and rear destination signs are orange-only.
|6401-6412||2004||New Flyer DE60LF||Original Rapid Ride fleet
Fareboxes upgraded from GFI CENTSaBILL to GFI Odyssey in October 2009
|6601-6606||2006||New Flyer DE60LF||Similar to 6400-series, with updated windows and air circulation system.
Features the new GFI Odyssey fareboxes.
|6901-6906||2009||New Flyer DE60LFR||Features restyled front end, video screens, and LED interior lighting.|
Ridership on the Red Line was 1.6 million boardings for fiscal year 2007, up 28% over fiscal year 2006, and was projected to finish fiscal year 2008 with a 13% gain. Bus ridership as a whole was up 9.3% in Albuquerque in fiscal 2007. The Blue Line had over 20,000 boardings per month as of early 2008.
Original route (Red Line)
Rapid Ride service began on December 24, 2004, with the Route 766 line, which ran along Central Avenue from Unser to Wyoming, then north to the Uptown Transit Center. Buses ran every 11 minutes from 6:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays. On August 20, 2006, the 766 started Sunday service with 22-minute frequency from 6:43 a.m. to 6:41 p.m.
Pilot project for second Rapid Ride route
On April 17, 2006, a second Rapid Ride route, the West Side Rapid Ride (156) started service. It ran as a commuter with four (two northbound and two southbound) runs in the morning and three (two northbound and one southbound) runs in the evening on weekdays. The route ran on Coors Blvd from Cottonwood Mall to the Alamosa Community Center. This route served as a pilot project for a potential full-time route for the Albuquerque West Side, and was later replaced by a new route (mentioned below) in July 2007.
First expansion of fleet, Blue Line introduced
ABQ RIDE placed an order for six additional Rapid Ride buses on July 20, 2006. The six buses were once again the New Flyer DE60LF, and were delivered in February 2007. These new buses were put to use on a new West Side route (Route 790) connecting the University of New Mexico to a portion of Albuquerque's Westside, via Lomas Boulevard, Rio Grande Boulevard, Interstate 40, and Coors Boulevard to the Montano Plaza shopping center. This new route replaced the 156 route and went into service on July 7, 2007, with 15-minute frequency on weekdays and 20-minute frequency on Saturdays. With the creation of this line, ABQ Ride began to give Rapid Ride routes color designations (Red for 766, Blue for 790). On August 16, 2008, the Blue Line was extended to Cottonwood Mall and weekday frequency changed to 20 minutes. When the new Northwest Transit Center opened on September 2, 2008, all buses serving Cottonwood Mall moved there, although a stop at Cottonwood Mall on 7 Bar Loop still remains for mall commuter traffic.
Increased service along Central Avenue, Green Line introduced
On February 26, 2009, ABQ RIDE announced a third Rapid Ride route, Route 777 (the "Green Line"), which would run every 15 minutes on weekdays along Central Avenue from Downtown Albuquerque to the Four Hills area at Central Avenue and Tramway Boulevard, and help relieve overcrowding on the Rapid Ride Red Line and the Route 66 Central Avenue bus. In preparation for the new route, ABQ RIDE added six additional Rapid Ride buses to the fleet. The Rapid Ride Green Line went into service on August 15, 2009. The 766 route was adjusted from using Wyoming Boulevard to using Louisiana Boulevard to connect to the Uptown Transit Center. Frequency on the 766 was adjusted from every 11 minutes on weekdays to every 15 minutes, and the schedules are designed to overlap so that between the 766 and 777, service on Central Avenue between Louisiana and Downtown is every 7 minutes.
Possible future route
On an election on October 6, 2009, Albuquerque voters approved a quarter-cent transportation tax extension lasting until 2019. 36% of this tax will be allocated for ABQ RIDE, up from 20% for the past 10 years. On October 8, 2009, outgoing ABQ RIDE transit director Greg Payne indicated the possibility of a new Rapid Ride route on San Mateo Blvd.
Possible bus rapid transit service along Central
In November 2011, ABQ RIDE announced plans for true bus rapid transit service along Central Avenue. The service differs from the Rapid Ride based on the fact that it would use a dedicated travel lane, and thus can be considered a true BRT service. Branding for this service has not been announced yet, nor have there been any announcements whether or not this service would replace the Rapid Ride Red or Green Lines.
List of Rapid Ride bus routes and connections
|ABQ Ride Rapid Ride Routes|
The following connections are made at the Alvarado Transportation Center:
- ABQ Ride bus routes: #5, #6, #7, #8, #10, #11, #12, #13, #16/18, #36, #40 D-Ride, #50, #53, #54, #66, #93, #94, #97, #217, #250
- ABQ Ride Rapid Ride routes:
- Rio Metro #504, #505A, #505B, & NM Park & Ride Turquoise
Route 766 - Red Line
(From West to East)
|Station or stop||Other Rapid
|Central & Unser Transit Center (Terminus)||#54, #66, #198, Rio Metro #366|
|Central & Coors||#66, #155|
|Central & Atrisco||#51, #66|
|Central & Tingley||#66|
|Central & Rio Grande||790||#36, #66|
|Gold & 5th (Eastbound)||777||#53, #54, #66|
|Copper & 2nd (Westbound)||777||#40 D-ride, #66|
|Copper & 5th (Westbound)||777||#40 D-Ride, #66|
|Alvarado Transportation Center||777||see above|
|Central & Edith||777||#66|
|Central & Cedar||777||#66|
|Central & Yale (Westbound)||777/790||#50, #66|
|Central & Cornell (Eastbound)||777||#66|
|Central & Carlisle||777||#16/18, #66|
|Central & San Mateo||777||#66, #140, #141|
|Central & Louisiana||777||#66, #157|
|Louisiana at Lomas||#11, #157|
|Indian School at Uptown Loop (Eastbound)|
|Indian School & Louisiana (Westbound)||#12|
|Uptown Transit Center (Terminus)||#6, #8, #12, #34, #157|
Route 777 - Green Line
(From West to East)
|Station or stop||Other Rapid
|Copper & 5th (Westbound) (Terminus)||766||#40 D-Ride, #66|
|Copper & 2nd (Westbound)||766||#40 D-ride, #66|
|Gold & 5th (Eastbound)||766||#53, #54, #66|
|Alvarado Transportation Center||766||see above|
|Central & Edith||766||#66|
|Central & Cedar||766||#66|
|Central & Yale (Westbound)||766/790||#50, #66|
|Central & Cornell (Eastbound)||766||#66|
|Central & Carlisle||766||#16/18, #66|
|Central & San Mateo||766||#66, #140, #141|
|Central & Louisiana||766||#66, #157|
|Central & Wyoming||#31, #66, #97, #98|
|Central & Eubank||#2, #66|
|Central & Juan Tabo||#1, #66|
|Wenonah & Tramway||#1, #66|
Route 790 - Blue Line
(From Northwest to Southeast)
|Station or stop||Other Rapid
|Northwest Transit Center (Terminus)||#92, #94, #96, #98, #155, #157, #251, #551|
|7 Bar Loop & Cottonwood||#96, #155|
|Coors & Irving||#96, #155|
|Coors & Eagle Ranch||#96, #155|
|Coors & Montano Plaza||#96, #155, #157, #162|
|Coors & Dellyne||#96, #155|
|Coors & St. Josephs||#96, #155|
|Coors & Sequoia||#96, #155|
|Central & Rio Grande||766||#36, #66|
|Lomas & Fourth Street||#8, #36, #40 D-Ride, #92, #93, #94|
|Lomas & Stanford (Eastbound)||#5, #11, #12|
|Central & Yale (Terminus)||766/777||#50, #66|
ROUTE 156 From north to south:
(no longer in service)
- Cottonwood Mall
- Coors at Irving (Target Store)
- Coors at Montano Plaza
- Coors at St. Josephs
- Coors at Sequoia
- Coors at Fortuna
- Coors at Central (transfer to Rapid Ride 766)
- Alamosa Community Center
- "Rapid Ride", City of Albuquerque Official City Website, retrieved April 25, 2009
- "Ridership up on Albuquerque buses in fiscal 2007" New Mexico Business Weekly
- "ABQ Ride" Official City Website[dead link]
- MORE HOURS AND MORE WHEELS - News Radio 770 KKOB AM[dead link]
- "Mayor Richard Berry and ABQ RIDE Announce Study to Improve Bus Service". Retrieved 2011-10-11.[dead link]