Rapid Ride

Rapid Ride

Rapid Ride is the name of a bus rapid transit service operated by ABQ RIDE in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Inaugurated on December 21, 2004, Rapid Ride was intended to provide a faster and more efficient means of public transit in Albuquerque and serve as a pilot project for a potential light rail line.


Rapid Ride serves an 11-mile route (766, "The Red Line") which runs along Central Avenue from Unser to Wyoming, then north to the Uptown Transit Center. It runs from 6:00 a.m. to 8:43 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays. Stops are about a mile apart at specially designated Rapid Ride stations rather than the normal city bus stops, which are about two blocks apart. The average wait between two Rapid Ride buses is 11 minutes. A special "Rapid After Dark" service (denoted as route 767) runs in the summer with service every 20 minutes until 3:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

Rapid Ride added a second route (790, "The Blue Line") in July 2007, which runs from the University of New Mexico west down Lomas, north on Rio Grande, west on I-40, and then north on Coors past the Cottonwood Mall to the Northwest Transit Center. It runs from 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on weekdays and 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Saturdays. The average wait between buses is 20 minutes on weekdays and 33 minutes on Saturdays.

The Rapid Ride fleet features TwinVision LED destination signs. The front destination signs feature a multicolor route number display and orange route name display. The route number is displayed in red for the Rapid Ride Route 766 and blue for Route 790. The side and rear destination signs are orange-only.


Ridership on the Red Line was up 28% in fiscal year 2007 over fiscal year 2006, and is projected to finish fiscal 2008 with a 13% gain. Bus ridership as a whole was up 9.3% in Albuquerque in fiscal 2007 [ [http://albuquerque.bizjournals.com/albuquerque/stories/2007/07/16/daily11.html] "Ridership up on Albuquerque buses in fiscal 2007" New Mexico Business Weekly] . The new Blue Line currently has over 20,000 boardings per month. [ [http://www.cabq.gov/transit/rapidbus2.html] "ABQ Ride" Official City Website]


The Rapid Ride fleet currently consists of 18 New Flyer DE60LF articulated 60-foot low floor buses, which are painted in ABQ RIDE's new red and gold color scheme. The buses are powered by hybrid diesel-electric engines and utilize a signal priority system which can manipulate traffic lights to further shorten travel times. All Rapid Ride buses have free wireless internet access and are wheelchair accessible, using a ramp (rather than a lift) that can be deployed automatically or manually. All Rapid Ride buses are also equipped with Digital Recorders automated stop announcment systems.




On April 17, 2006, a second Rapid Ride route, the West Side Rapid Ride (156) started service. It ran as a commuter with four (two northbound and two southbound) runs in the morning and three (two northbound and one southbound) runs in the evening on weekdays. The route ran on Coors Blvd from Cottonwood Mall to the Alamosa Community Center. This route served as a pilot project for a potential full-time route for the Albuquerque West Side, and was later replaced by a new route (mentioned below) in July 2007.

On August 20, 2006, Rapid Ride (route 766) started Sunday service with 22-minute frequency from 6:43 a.m. to 6:41 p.m.

ABQ RIDE placed an order for six additional Rapid Ride buses on July 20, 2006. The six buses were once again the New Flyer DE60LF, and were delivered in February 2007. These new buses were put to use on a new route connecting the University of New Mexico to Albuquerque's Westside, via Lomas Boulevard, Rio Grande Boulevard, Interstate 40, and Coors Boulevard to the Montano Plaza shopping center. This new West Side Rapid Ride (790), or the "Blue Line", went into service on July 7, 2007, and replaced the 156 route.

On August 16, 2008, the Rapid Ride Blue Line was extended to Cottonwood Mall. Weekday frequency changed to 20 minutes, while Saturday frequency remained unchanged. When the new Northwest Transit Center opened on September 2, 2008, all buses serving Cottonwood Mall (including the Rapid Ride Blue Line) moved there, although a stop at Cottonwood Mall on 7 Bar Loop still remains for mall commuter traffic, but the Park and Ride at Cottonwood Mall has been closed.

ABQ RIDE also intends on purchasing 10 additional Rapid Ride buses. It is believed that these buses may be used for a third Rapid Ride route, although ABQ RIDE has not yet made any official announcements or held any public meetings for a third route.

List of Rapid Ride Stops

ROUTE 766 (red|Red Line) / 767 (Rapid After Dark) From west to east:
*Central at Unser
*Central at Coors
*Central at Atrisco
*Central at Tingley
*Central at Rio Grande (Old Town Albuquerque station) (transfer with Rapid Ride 790 Blue Line)
*Gold at Sixth (Eastbound) / Copper at Fifth (Westbound)
*Alvarado Transportation Center / Central at First
*Central at Cedar (Presbyterian Center Station)
*Central at Yale (Westbound) (University of New Mexico Station) (transfer with Rapid Ride 790 Blue Line) / Central at Cornell (Eastbound) (Frontier/UNM Station)
*Central at Carlisle (Eastbound - KKOB-FM Station / Westbound - Crosswinds Weekly Station)
*Central at San Mateo (Eastbound - KABQ-FM and KTEG Radio Station / Westbound - Magic Bus Station)
*Central at Louisiana (Eastbound - KRST Radio Station)
*Central at Wyoming
*Wyoming at Lomas (Westbound - Zangara Dodge Station)
*"No Stops on Interstate 40 between Wyoming and Louisiana"
*Indian School at Uptown Loop (Eastbound) / Louisiana at America's Parkway (Westbound)
*Uptown Transit Center

ROUTE 790 (blue|Blue Line) From north/west to south/east:
*Northwest Transit Center
*7 Bar Loop at Cottonwood Mall
*Coors at Irving (Target Store)
*Coors at Eagle Ranch
*Coors at Montano Plaza
*Coors at Dellyne
*Coors at St. Josephs (St. Pius X High School)
*Coors at Sequoia
*"No Stops on Interstate 40 between Coors and Rio Grande"
*Central at Rio Grande (Old Town Albuquerque station) (transfer with Rapid Ride 766 Red Line)
*Lomas at Fourth Street
*Lomas at UNM Hospital (Eastbound)
*Central at Yale (Westbound) (University of New Mexico Station) (transfer with Rapid Ride 766 Red Line)

ROUTE 156 From north to south: "(no longer in service)"
*Cottonwood Mall
*Coors at Irving (Target Store)
*Coors at Montano Plaza
*Coors at St. Josephs
*Coors at Sequoia
*Coors at Fortuna
*Coors at Central (transfer to Rapid Ride 766)
*Alamosa Community Center


External links

* [http://www.cabq.gov/transit/rapidbus2.html Rapid Ride Official Site]
* [http://www.cabq.gov/transit/documents/pdfs/mar08_766mon-sat_RAD_REV.pdf Rapid Ride Route 766 Map (Weekday and Saturday, includes Rapid After Dark)] (PDF)
* [http://www.cabq.gov/transit/documents/pdfs/mar08_766sun_rev.pdf Rapid Ride Route 766 Map (Sunday)] (PDF)
* [http://www.cabq.gov/transit/documents/pdfs/mar08_790wkd.pdf Rapid Ride Route 790 Map (Weekday)] (PDF)
* [http://www.cabq.gov/transit/documents/pdfs/mar08_790_sat.pdf Rapid Ride Route 790 Map (Saturday)] (PDF)

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