Public transportation in Albuquerque is an oft-forgotten way to get around. However, it does exist. Around 1.65 million riders use ABQ RIDE every year, which includes a system of local and express buses. Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) is newest addition to the city’s public transportation. The electric ART buses started the 10-mile service in dedicated lanes through the heart of the city in November 2019.
How to Use ABQ RIDE
- Fares: Local bus rides start at $1 for a one-way ride. A one-day pass, which offers unlimited rides for a 24-hour period, costs $2. Certain groups can get a discount including seniors, students, local university students, and children. Children under the age of 10 can ride for free as long as an adult is accompanying them.
- Different Types of Passes: One-, two-, and three-day passes are available for short-term visitors, while one-month and longer passes are available for longer-term riders.
- How to Pay: For regular local buses or ART, you can buy tickets prior to boarding via the ABQ RIDE app. Ticket vending machines are also available for pass purchases. These vending machines are available at ART platforms and two transit centers (the Northwest Transit Center at Ellison and Coors NW and the Uptown Transit Center at Indiana and Uptown Boulevard NE.) However, vending machines only sell adult, three-day, and 31-day passes. Riders can also buy tickets on the bus, but only if they are in the market for one-way, all-day, or two- or three-day passes. Cash is the only payment method available on the buses.
- Hours of Operation: Most bus routes run daily; however, some run only on weekdays. In general, ABQ RIDE buses run between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. However, the days, times, and frequency of buses varies based on routes. You can use the trip planner on the ABQ RIDE website to plan your route.
- Transfer Information: Transfers are quite easy to do between local buses, so long as you’ve purchased a day pass. Riders can use the same passes for regular ABQ Ride buses and ART buses. If you’ve purchased a fare on the New Mexico Rail Runner commuter train, you can also transfer to ABQ RIDE for free the day of your purchased ticket.
- Service Alerts: As with any big-city transportation system ABQ RIDE service can periodically experience delays or detours, particularly if there’s construction along main thoroughfares, inclement weather, or a big event happening. You can consult the ABQ RIDE website to learn about delays or route changes. Riders can also access up to date route information via the ABQ RIDE app, as well as seeing bus locations in real time with Where’s My Bus. For additional updates, they can access schedule information using the TXT2RIDE service. Users can text 27433 with the four-digit stop number followed by a space and the route number. They will receive a text back with the next two scheduled departure times for the bus route and stop indicated in the text.
- Accessibility Concerns: ABQ RIDE buses and platforms are generally accessible to people with disabilities and those who use mobility devices. Sun Van Paratransit Service provides accessible transportation to people who need assistance. Some advance planning, including completing an application and making reservations, is required to access this service. Fares are similar to the fixed-route buses. For more information about accessibility—and to apply for service—check out the Sun Van website.
- Special Events: One of Albuquerque’s most celebrated events is viewing the luminarias on Christmas Eve. ABQ RIDE offers bus tours of the neighborhoods decked out with the candle-illuminated paper bags. Tours depart from designated locations at select times (usually six times between 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.). Fares are the same as day passes—about $2. However, advance reservations are required. Tour tickets go on sale the day after Thanksgiving and usually sell out within a couple days.
ABQ RIDE is the main public transportation within Albuquerque, but there are several other ways to get around the city and to outlying areas.
Riding the Train
New Mexico Rail Runner offers train service from Belen, a town 33 miles south of Albuquerque, to Santa Fe, which lies 65 miles to the north. Locals primarily use the train to commute to and from work, while travelers primarily use the train to reach Santa Fe to visit the attractions in New Mexico’s capital city. Because the Rail Runner’s focus is commuter service, train times are clustered at the beginning and end of the workdays, from around 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. There are fewer service options at other times of day and on weekends. Local bus systems usually offer transfers from the train, which has a single line and no inner-city service, to make reaching your destination easier. Fares to ride within one of the six available zones are $2. All Albuquerque stations are within one zone, making this a good option to travel within the Duke City. A trip from Albuquerque to Santa Fe for the day will run you $2 to $11. Discounts are available for some categories of passengers, such as seniors, students, youth, Medicare card holders, and people with disabilities.
Taxis and Ride Sharing Apps
When you can’t or don’t want to access public transportation, hailing a ride works well. Albuquerque has a trio of cab companies that offer service. Ride-sharing apps, including Uber and Lyft, operate all over the Duke City. There’s no taxi or ride-sharing queue at the airport, so if you’re arriving there plan to hail a ride via phone or app.