Rail Runner Expands Service a Bit

Rail Runner, the 2nd best transportation deal in town, is getting a bit better.

While it’s hard to compete with totally free ABQ Ride bus fares in 2022, Rio Metro has already reduced train fares to the point where I paid 50 cents to ride from Downtown ABQ to Sandia Pueblo last Sunday and an all-Day Pass is $2.75. The bigger issue with Rail Runner has always been number of daily runs, and Rio Metro is doing a little something about that starting this coming Monday, August 1st.

New weekday schedule north and southbound

In addition to a time tweak on existing run here and there, the biggest change is addition of two midday runs. On weekends, Saturday gets one more run each way, with an existing run adding service from Santa Fe, while Sundays still gets its same meager level of service.

Just like its restaurants, ABQ closes weekend train service pretty early.

With gas/diesel prices still relatively high enough to get checks from the Governor (thanks for that $500 yesterday, MLG!), Rail Runner makes more sense than ever, something those of us who don’t fill up our gas tanks very often already know as well. Here’s the scene last Sunday in our train car heading up to Sandia Pueblo for a bike ride back to town:

That’s four bikes in one train car; the other bike-accessible car on this train had at least one other. Fellow travelers tell us that cyclist usage is even higher weekdays.

It’s true that the newly expanded Rail Runner schedule isn’t expanded enough. And the quaintly inadequate bike-holding capacity/system is, while quaint, inadequate. And yes, Covid (with new Monkeypox kicker!). Still, nevertheless, heretofore and forthwith, riding our local rail is truly one of the greatest calming pleasures in our community, and also features something we don’t experience much these days: a sense of community.

Both in the views offered and the fact those views are simultaneously shared with fellow travelers, Rail Runner is a moving community festival, a movie theater where it’s okay to talk, and okay to have a “Quiet Car” for those who don’t want to talk or listen to you babble on about how beautiful the views are.

If you haven’t, or haven’t lately, check it out (mask or no mask) this weekend and tell me what you think.

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