For everyone reading this post not from Albuquerque, CNM is the local community college in the Albuquerque metro area. ABQ Ride is the local transportation agency in the city of Albuquerque.
CNM and ABQ Ride do not have best relationship.
Sure, there are a few ABQ Ride routes that access the CNM campuses. Sure, ABQ Ride acknowledges the existence of CNM. However, compared to the amount of support received from ABQ Ride by UNM, almost no attention is payed to CNM. After all, the 3 Rapid Ride routes all pass by UNM.
How many CNM campuses are served by even one Rapid Ride route?
A closer partnership between CNM and ABQ Ride should be a no-brainer:
1. CNM is the largest secondary education institution in the state
2. CNM students, just like UNM students, have free access to transit. One reason the Rapid Ride has been so successful has been the fact that it serves UNM, a huge bank of citizens with free transit passes.
3. Community college attendees generally have average lower income than UNM attendees, making them perfect candidates for improved transit access.
The reasons behind the lack of a partnership between CNM and UNM are understandable. First, UNM has one major campus; CNM has many campuses scattered across the city.
Here is a map of the CNM campuses:
As you can see, there are many campuses with many locations. This is significant because many students take classes at multiple CNM locations. For the purposes of this post, I will focus on the three largest CNM campuses: Main, Montoya and Westside.
Connecting Montoya and Main: The Montoya campus is currently poorly served by bus service. Main is also lacking significant connections.
The current bus situation for Montoya: Two routes nearby (the #1 and the #5), but none that are even close to the front door of the campus.
The current bus situation for Main: Two bus routes-the 96 Zuni (which only runs on weekdays, stopping at a frequency of once per hour) and the 16/18 BUG (which has an extremely inefficient convoluted route). Solutions to improve the 16/18 are discussed here as well.
My solution: 1 new bus route and 1 enhanced bus route.
The enhanced bus route would follow the current route of the 96 Zuni route, but it would be enhanced by having a significant amount of distance added to it. The majority of this added distance would be the continuation of this route along Morris until it reaches the CNM Montoya Campus.
The route would look like this:
View 88 Morris/Zuni in a larger map
The two place marks on here are the two existing CNM campuses that this route would serve.
The benefits of this alignment are discussed in further detail in this previous post.
The other route I propose is a Rapid Ride route along Montgomery and University Blvd. The southern terminus would be the airport and the eastern terminus would alternate between CNM and the Montgomery/Tramway Park and Ride (on weekends, all the Rapid Ride trips would end at Montgomery/Tramway and on weekdays, the terminus would alternate between trips).
The route would look something like this:
View 725 Montgomery/University Rapid Ride in a larger map
Once again, the place marks designate CNM locations. This route also serves UNM and the UNM Hospital, which is growing very rapidly. This route would complement the current #5 route along Montgomery. This is similar to a route I proposed on this Duke City Fix post, which was then later discussed on this post.
Connecting the Westside campus to the ABQ Ride System: Currently, the Westside campus is served by zero bus routes. This is understandable, considering the sprawling nature of its location. However, it is relatively close to the Northwest Transit Center, making it a good candidate for the terminus of a regular weekday route with half hour frequency.
The route would follow this alignment:
View 101 McMahon/Ellison in a larger map
The marker on the left is the Westside CNM Campus, and the marker on the right is the Northwest Transit Center. This route would be guaranteed success, based on the theory of anchoring transit lines discussed in paragraph five of this post:
So transit planners are always looking to anchor their lines. Anchoring means designing a line so that it ends at a major destination, so that there will be lots of people on the vehicle all the way to the end of the line. A line with strong anchors at each end will have more uniform high ridership over the whole length of the line, and a much more efficient use of capacity overall.
Currently, all CNM students, and all UNM students, have free ABQ Ride bus passes.
CNM needs to have a closer relationship with ABQ Ride.
Three (3) new bus transit lines would vastly improve this connectivity.