Jul. 30—Rio Metro is adding more midmorning and midday trains to its Rail Runner service starting Monday.
The daily train service from Santa Fe to Albuquerque to Belen will now have two additional trains on both weekdays and Saturdays, the Rio Metro Regional Transit District said in a news release.
"We have always worked our schedule to accommodate a typical 9-to-5 workday, but since the pandemic — that has changed," said Executive Director Dewey Cave. "Fewer people are traveling to work five days a week, and many are less likely to have a 9-to-5 workday, so this schedule really addresses that changing workday."
The two new Saturday trains, Rio Metro said, were scheduled to run in between the two most popular Saturday trains, cutting wait times between trains. Northbound, the first new train leaves Belen at 9:20 a.m. and arrives at Santa Fe Depot at 11:49 a.m., while the second new northbound train leaves downtown Albuquerque at 3:11 p.m. and arrives at Santa Fe Depot at 4:56 p.m.
Southbound, there will be a new Saturday train running from Albuquerque to Belen that leaves downtown Albuquerque at 8:21 a.m., and two new Santa Fe-to-Albuquerque trains that leave Santa Fe at 12:57 p.m. and 6:03 p.m., respectively.
As for weekdays, there are two new northbound trains — a Belen-to-Santa Fe train that leaves Belen at 11:32 a.m. and an Albuquerque-to-Santa Fe train that leaves Albuquerque at 2:19 p.m. Southbound, there is a new train to downtown Albuquerque that leaves Santa Fe Depot at 10:07 a.m. and a southbound train to Belen that leaves Santa Fe Depot at 2:43 p.m. This train will replace the Albuquerque-to-Belen train that currently leaves downtown Albuquerque at 4:30 p.m.
The new schedule will stay in place for a year and, Rio Metro said, is possible due to federal COVID-19 relief funds freeing up money elsewhere to pay for the
The announcement of additional train service comes on the heels of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's announcement that the 75 percent discounted Rail Runner ticket prices implemented in April will continue until the end of the year.
"We've done lots of public and customer surveys through the years, and the one thing that people have asked for consistently is more train service," said transit district Chairman Isaac Benton. "Now with these extra routes along with the low discounted fares, we think there's never been a better time to ride the Rail Runner."
Visit riometro.org to learn more and see schedules.