Albuquerque Rapid Transit as Literary Anti-Hero

How much more of an Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) fan would you be if all ART buses were this:

Lone electric ART bus at the ABQRide’s Daytona Transit Facility

We all remember the saga of the BYD electric buses, pulled because they didn’t have the battery range to handle the ART route, particularly uphill. Apparently, they were also just crappy in general. According to this rollout press release, this orphan EV bus is no longer alone and the City bought five more 40-foot “Proterra Catalyst E2” buses in 2021.

I don’t know. I haven’t myself seen these in action, as I don’t get out as much as I used to. There’s a pandemic and all that.

Notably, these 40-footers aren’t designed right for the ART stops and the aforementioned press release says the bus above is handling only the Central #66 route. Too bad. It would be particularly fun to ride an electric bus, for free, on the ART route, even if it meant having to use the front bike loading method instead of the uber-pleasant roll-on available on the 60-footers in ART use.

And yeah, it would be a lot more fun to ride this bus on the ART route if Bernalillo County wasn’t experiencing ~1,500 reported COVID cases per day. Having tried ART once, and only once, recently, I can report that this fact did crimp my personal enjoyment of the ride. Your COVID-paranoia mileage may vary.

To me, spying the EV bus shown above a couple of weeks back adds something of a perfect coda to the thoroughly depressing non-fiction short story that has been ART. I don’t know if this story better fits the stylings of F. Scott Fitzgerald or George Saunders, but it is most definitely one of good ideas gone wrong in absurd ways, serving to illustrate that all of us, ideas and people both, are subject to external forces and mental inadequacies *ceaselessly beyond our ability to control.

Thus concludes your creative non-fiction lecture for the day. Remember, this material will be on the Final Exam.

*Extra credit for use of very Fitzgerald word.

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