I’m not much of a photographer, but if you take enough shots…blind pigs and such. I got lucky on this one, as this snap sums up what I see as the two most important things about Albuquerque Rapid Transit after having ridden it on its Opening Day on Saturday.
- The family crossing via this HAWK signal at the Laguna Station has just left the bus to go to adjacent Cafe Laurel for breakfast on a chilly Saturday morning (no photo of their entrance; I’m not that good of a photographer). A.R.T. is about connecting people to people and places along the route. Yes, I know the Red/Green routes are the same as with the simpler, old Rapid Ride, but, combined with #2 below, perhaps more and more people will connect more and more, both on the bus and after getting off of it.
- Riding A.R.T. showcases and ennobles the bus rider in new ways Rapid Ride, etc. never did. The family gets off the bus above and hits the HAWK signal “beg button” that makes the driver stop. On Central Avenue. Only a few seconds after hitting the button. Also, there is something ennobling for riders with bus stops in the middle of Central Avenue. “We” riders get to stand in the middle of the street, gazing over drivers and the entire reality scenescape while riding. “We” have taken over the middle of Central Avenue in many places with designated bus lanes. “We” make “you” drivers stop so “we” can then cross what is now “our” street. The street that most definitely used to be “yours.”
In short: You notice us. You have to.
We’re not shunted off on the side, but are fully center and fully displayed on our raised proscenium. And the bus is the stage curtain sweeping us into and our of view. We’re on-stage.
Check it out for yourself, if you haven’t already. As Bluto says in “Animal House,” “it don’t cost nuthin'” through the end of the year. Feel deservedly special and connected. Ride A.R.T., just like the family in the photo above.