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Rapid Riding: Public transportation in Albuquerque


Image courtesy of the City of Albuquerque

If you live in Albuquerque or have ever visited, chances are you've never utilized the Duke City's public transportation system. The sad fact is that most Albuquerqueans never take the bus, despite the fact that our fair city is endowed with a healthy public transport network that can get you almost anywhere you want to go.

Albuquerque's public tranport is divided into two types: regular buses and Rapid Ride buses, all of which are owned and operated by ABQRide, a division of the City of Albuquerque. Most of the city is served by regular bus lines and it is cross-sectioned by three Rapid Ride routes. The Rapid Ride is an accordian bus with different bus stops and longer intervals between stops, so it can go at a much quicker pace than a regular city bus. The downside to taking the Rapid Ride is that it doesn't always stop near to where you're headed.

All Albuquerque city buses cost $1 per ride, while a Day Pass gives you unlimited rides for any 24-hr period for $2 - a bargain in terms of public transport fees around the country. Fares can be paid on the bus with correct change in either dollar bills or coins. If you purchase a Day Pass, simply stick your two dollars into the dollar slot, tell the driver you want a Day Pass and out will shoot your ticket. Make sure to keep the ticket with you all day or else you'll have to pay again.

If you're taking the New Mexico RailRunner train, keep your ticket because it grants you free rides all day on all ABQRide buses (as well as public buses in other cities where the train stops).

Each ABQRide line has a different set of operating hours, but most run between 5-6 am to around 10 pm on weekdays, with shorter schedules on weekends. The Rapid Rine lines have a much earlier stop time on weekends, but are sometimes put into late-night commission during summer weekend nights and major holidays in order to cater to the downtown and Nob Hill drinking crowds.

Here are a few important Albuquerque public bus lines that might help you if you are visiting the Duke City:

Rapid Ride

Red Line (766) - This bus travels between Uptown and the West Side on Central Ave. and provides access to Uptown Shopping Center and the Coronado Mall, Expo New Mexico (State fairgrounds), Nob Hill, the University of New Mexico, downtown and Old Town.

Green Line (777) - This bus runs a very similar route to the Red Line, except that it does not go to Uptown, instead it travels east on Central all the way to Tramway Blvd. The Green Line only serves downtown, not Old Town or the West Side.

Blue Line (790) - This line travels from UNM to the North West Side and provides access to downtown, Old Town and the Cottonwood Mall on the West Side.


Regular ABQRide Buses

Airport/Downtown (50) - Serving Albuquerque International Sunport, this bus transports passengers between the airport and downtown, where you can make connections to the New Mexico RailRunner train.

Central Ave. (66) - This most notorious of Albuquerque bus lines runs up and down Central Ave. (Route 66), giving you access to most of the major tourist sites, including downtown, Old Town, UNM, Nob Hill and Expo New Mexico.

Free ABQRide Buses

D-Ride - This free downtown shuttle carries passengers all around the downtown area and can be accessed at a number of stops around downtown. If you are coming from the NM RailRunner train or the airport, you can pick up the D-Ride at Alvarado Transportation Center (train & bus station).

Sunport Express Shuttle (350) - This bus brings passengers between the Alvarado Transportation Center and the airport for free on weekdays only.


  • Billie 5 years ago

    Didn't know that about the Rail Runner ticket. Great info!

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