North Central Regional Transit District: Espanola’s Blue Buses
In May of 2010, while in a car going down Railroad Avenue in Espanola, I spotted a big, blue structure being erected by a construction crew. I was so excited, I immediately grabbed my cell phone to post to my personal Facebook. “There’s an actual bus stop bench in Espanola!” I told everyone. A few minutes later, my aunt from Albuquerque replied with, “Did someone put up a bus stop in hopes those are what bring buses?” I laughed, but the truth is that Espanola actually does have a public transportation system, most people just don’t know about it.
Perhaps the lack of bus stop benches has made it so that very few residents realize the bus stops are even there. Many people may have even seen the small, blue buses driving around the city, but not given much thought to them. Some part of me had known about the blue buses, but I didn’t realize the extent of their routes or the fact it’s free to ride.
I first really noticed the buses when I observed random people habitually loitering in choice places along Riverside Drive. Upon paying closer attention, I realized that there are little bus stop signs where these people were hanging about. Well, that certainly made much more sense than people just liking to sit on the sidewalk by the vacant lot in front of Wal-Mart.
So where do these mysterious blue buses come from? They’re run by North Central Regional Transit District (NCRTD). According to their website, “The mission of the North Central Regional Transit District is to provide safe, secure and effective public transportation within North Central New Mexico in order to enhance the quality of life of our citizens by providing mobility options and spur economic development throughout the region.” With the prices of gas so high and the increasing awareness of things like carbon footprints, public transportation is in great demand. The fact that Espanola has a free transportation system makes it even better.
Where can the blue bus take you? There are many, many routes the buses run on, including stops in Santa Fe, Pojoaque, Tesuque, Los Alamos, Taos, Ohkay Owingeh, Alcalde, Chamita, Questa, Peñasco, Red River, El Rito, Abiquiu, Tierra Amarilla, Chama, and many more. Virtually anywhere that one wants to go in Northern New Mexico, the NCRTD buses can get them there.
Some routes run daily while others are restricted to certain days of the week. Drivers don’t stop at bus stops that are unoccupied, so make sure if you’re waiting for a bus that you’re sitting someplace highly visible. The buses also don’t make unauthorized stops, so while riders are restricted to being dropped off and picked up at the pre-arranged locations, it’s still certainly a money saver for families.
North Central Regional Transit District
Free bus service in Northern New Mexico!
For routes, visit:
Images from ncrtd.org)