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 Stops
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Rapid Ride serves three routes: The 766 ("Red Line") runs along Central Avenue from Unser to Louisiana, then north to the Uptown Transit Center; the 790 ("Blue Line") which runs from the University of New Mexico west down Lomas, north on Rio Grande, west on I-40, and then north on Coors 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 Red Line and Green Line overlap along Central Avenue, and buses are staggered so that they arrive about every 7 minutes during the week. 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. A special "Rapid After Dark" service (denoted as route 767) runs in the summer along the Red Line, with service every 20 minutes until 3:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.
While not running in a dedicated lane or on a busway, Rapid Ride is an improvement over regular express bus service. Service is sometimes so frequent to eliminate the need for a schedule and shortens wait times. Low floor buses with quick deploying ramps make for faster boarding and deboarding. Buses have signal priority, and widely spaced stations are used rather than regular bus stops.
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 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 Stops
ROUTE 766 (Red Line) From west to east:
- Central at Unser
- Central at Coors
- Central at Atrisco
- Central at Tingley
- Central at Rio Grande (Old Town Albuquerque station) (transfer with Rapid Ride 790 Blue Line)
- Gold at Sixth (Eastbound) / Copper at Fifth (Westbound) (transfer with Rapid Ride 777 Green Line)
- Alvarado Transportation Center / Central at First (transfer with Rapid Ride 777 Green Line)
- Central at Cedar (Presbyterian Center Station) (transfer with Rapid Ride 777 Green Line)
- Central at Yale (Westbound) (University of New Mexico Station) (transfer with Rapid Ride 790 Blue Line and 777 Green Line) / Central at Cornell (Eastbound) (Frontier/UNM Station) (transfer with Rapid Ride Route 777 Green Line)
- Central at Carlisle (Eastbound - KKOB-FM Station / Westbound - Crosswinds Weekly Station) (transfer with Rapid Ride 777 Green Line)
- Central at San Mateo (Eastbound - KABQ-FM and KTEG Radio Station / Westbound - Magic Bus Station) (transfer with Rapid Ride 777 Green Line)
- Central at Louisiana (Eastbound - KRST Radio Station) (transfer with Rapid Ride 777 Green Line)
- Louisiana at Lomas
- Indian School at Uptown Loop (Eastbound) / Louisiana at America's Parkway (Westbound)
- Uptown Transit Center
ROUTE 790 (Blue Line) From north/west to south/east:
- Northwest Transit Center
- 7 Bar Loop at Cottonwood Mall
- Coors at Irving (Target Store)
- Coors at Eagle Ranch
- Coors at Montano Plaza
- Coors at Dellyne
- Coors at St. Josephs (St. Pius X High School)
- Coors at Sequoia
- No Stops on Interstate 40 between Coors and Rio Grande
- Central at Rio Grande (Old Town Albuquerque station) (transfer with Rapid Ride 766 Red Line)
- Lomas at Fourth Street
- Lomas at UNM Hospital (Eastbound)
- Central at Yale (Westbound) (University of New Mexico Station) (transfer with Rapid Ride 766 Red Line and 777 Green Line)
ROUTE 777 (Green Line) From west to east:
- Gold at Sixth (Eastbound) / Copper at Fifth (Westbound) (transfer with Rapid Ride 766 Red Line)
- Alvarado Transportation Center / Central at First (transfer with Rapid Ride 766 Red Line)
- Central at Cedar (Presbyterian Center Station) (transfer with Rapid Ride 766 Red Line)
- Central at Yale (Westbound) (University of New Mexico Station) (transfer with Rapid Ride 766 Red Line and 790 Blue Line) / Central at Cornell (Eastbound) (Frontier/UNM Station) (transfer with Rapid Ride Route 766 Red Line)
- Central at Carlisle (Eastbound - KKOB-FM Station / Westbound - Crosswinds Weekly Station) (transfer with Rapid Ride 766 Red Line)
- Central at San Mateo (Eastbound - KABQ-FM and KTEG Radio Station / Westbound - Magic Bus Station) (transfer with Rapid Ride 766 Red Line)
- Central at Louisiana (Eastbound - KRST Radio Station) (transfer with Rapid Ride 766 Red Line)
- Central at Wyoming
- Central at Eubank
- Central at Juan Tabo
- Tramway at Wenonah
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
- MORE HOURS AND MORE WHEELS - News Radio 770 KKOB AM
- "Mayor Richard Berry and ABQ RIDE Announce Study to Improve Bus Service". Retrieved 2011-10-11.