New Express Train & New Fares Begin May 21st

(Albuquerque, NM – May 1, 2012) - A new fare structure is set to go into effect for the New Mexico Rail Runner Express next month, while at the same time train passengers will also see some new amenities.

One of the most notable amenities being added is the first express train between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Passengers using this new service will be able to save 20-25 minutes in each direction on their commute between the two cities. There will be one northbound express in the morning and one southbound express in the evening. The express train will skip three stations and will have a second locomotive on the train set to save time climbing the steep grade on the way to Santa Fe. The new express service is designed to get people to their destinations to meet the most common work start time of eight-o’clock a.m., while the evening express train departs Santa Fe shortly after 5 p.m.

“Over the years, our passengers have told us they wouldn’t mind a fare increase if we offered some faster service, peaceful rides and incorporated better technology into our operations structure,” said MRCOG Executive Director Dewey Cave.

Following a series of public meetings last fall, Rio Metro Board Members voted on and later approved a new fare structure for the Rail Runner. Fares for one way trips and day passes are set to increase by one-to-two dollars while monthly passes will increase by four-to-11 dollars. This is the first time that the New Mexico Rail Runner Express has implemented a fare increase.

New Amenities beginning May 21st
Express Train – One northbound and one southbound express train has been added between Albuquerque and Santa Fe for weekday runs.

Quiet Cars – A Quiet Car Pilot Program began earlier this year on select trains. Quiet Cars will now be added to additional northbound and southbound weekday trains.

New Schedules – Weekday schedules will change slightly to accommodate the new express train. Weekend schedules are being changed to allow more flexibility for people in Valencia County to get to Albuquerque and points north. People will also be able to leave later on weekend mornings to get to Santa Fe.

Mobile Phone Ticketing – Rio Metro will begin a Pilot Project on May 21 to begin accepting electronic tickets. Passengers will be able to use their smart phone to purchase their ticket from the Rail Runner website and then present their phone to the ticket agent to scan. A new smart phone app will be released later this year to make this process even easier.

Commuter Tax Benefit – This program allows participating employers and their employees to set aside pre-tax dollars for transit passes. Many employers are already working with third-party providers to offer this benefit. This could result in a significant savings for both employers and employees.

New Los Lunas Bus Route – Rio Metro will begin a new bus route in the Village of Los Lunas to bring residents to the Rail Runner station in the morning and then back home in the evening.