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A sort of homage to the Rail Runner
Repost - New Mexico's imperfect anchor tenant of sustainable transportation
Burquenos, why are you still driving to Santa Fe? - May 1st, 2022 - Edited for readability
The decision between driving I-25 and riding the train to Santa Fe is easy for me.
I ride the train from Albuquerque to Santa Fe thrice a week for work. I depart from the Alvarado Transportation Center downtown and ride it north to the end of the line at the Santa Fe Railyard. To me, this beats 75 minutes on I-25 any day. I am writing today to urge other Burqueños who work in Santa Fe (or vice versa) to do the same.
This is not a paid sponsor for the Rail Runner (I freaking wish it was), I’m just a believer in mass transportation. Every person who opts to ride the train instead of driving votes for sustainable infrastructure with their dollars, and I genuinely believe your standard of living will increase when you ditch the drive and opt for the train. Here is why:
First, it is safer. It is not uncommon to get stuck in traffic due to a wreck on I-25 (southbound or northbound). Drivers on I-25 typically go 10-15 over the speed limit, increasing the chances of a wreck. You will also find that half the drivers don't use their blinkers, may be missing a taillight or two, and are either on their phones, eating breakfast, or doing their makeup.
The fact of the matter is cars are dangerous and prone to user error. Ride the train.
Second, it is cheaper. We all know gas prices are high. It would cost me about $20-30 in gas alone per trip to Santa Fe driving a typical sedan. If I did that just twice a week, I would spend around $180-$200 a month on gas and maintenance. If you commute every day you will spend around $450-$500 a month.
On the other hand, the train is $25/month right now. Don’t throw money down the drain. Ride the train.
Third, you will save time for the things you never get to do. When you are driving you don't get to do much outside of listen to music, pay attention to the road, etc. On the train, however, the world is your oyster. You can read a book, get a head-start on work, run your side hustle, look out the window, twiddle your thumbs, talk with the nice people on the train, take a nap, the list goes on.
I find the train ride quite pleasant as I find time to write these articles, read a book, or get some shut-eye.
Your days of white-knuckling up I-25 could be behind you. Ride the train.
Fourth, you will likely get home a little faster. Driving back to Albuquerque you will often find yourself in traffic at every juncture of your commute.
Santa Fe was not built adequately to support the number of cars that leave there every day. Next, you will typically find that southbound I-25 either has construction or a crash that puts you another 20-90 minutes behind. Finally, once you get back to ABQ, you may experience even more traffic depending on where you live.
In my experience, the train has only been late once, and it was by 10 minutes. Don't be late. Ride the train.
Fifth, and most importantly, it is much better for the environment. Modern trains can transport one ton of goods 480 miles on one gallon of fuel on average.
Our fossil fuel usage is undeniably changing our climate and public transportation can help us greatly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in New Mexico.
At a time when experts say we have less than ten years to reach net zero, it is time to act with more responsibility for our environment. Don’t ruin our planet. Ride the train.
Cars feel like a necessary part of life when you live in Albuquerque. Everything is so spread out, biking isn’t always practical, and the bus may be unreliable near you. Heck, even the Rail Runner doesn’t always get you where you need to go when you need to get there. I get it. Like a lot of America, NM needs some serious transit improvements, but by utilizing the sustainable infrastructure we do have, we give our policymakers another reason to invest in those improvements.
Vote with your money (and save some) by riding the train.
In other news:
The Albuquerque City Council Elections - If you’re an Albuquerque resident, don’t forget to vote before end-of-day November 7th. Early voting is open now. Need a little help selecting a candidate? Here are some voter guides developed by dedicated local journalists and nonprofits:
City Council to visit limiting the Air Quality Control Board next Wednesday, November 8th.
From Source NM:
Bills that would completely replace the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board and potentially undermine its regulation authority are set to be heard by Albuquerque’s City Council…
Introduced by Dan Lewis of District 5 in Northwest Albuquerque, the bills would also do a number of other things – including a moratorium that would stop standard air quality regulation dead in its tracks until February 1, 2024. Lewis said the current board represents “a narrow set of interests” and that it doesn’t operate within the laws of the state.
Historically, under the New Mexico Air Quality Control Act, the board advises the Mayor, the Environmental Health Department, the City Council and the County Commission on all air quality matters.
These proposals would inherently strip that power away and reclassify the board as an advisory committee only to the city council.
Why would this be a bad thing? It would decrease the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board’s ability to protect our air quality. The AQCB has been good for air quality in Albuquerque and is an added defense mechanism for the environment. This is likely an attempt by City Councilor Dan Lewis to keep the board from adopting the much-needed Advanced Clean Cars 2 - a rule that would increase the amount of electric vehicles sold in New Mexico.