My Turn

Opinion: The NCRTD Blue Bus is a service that benefits all of us

By Charlie I. Gonzales
former Taos County Commissioner
Posted 10/10/18

Many of us have seen and used the "Blue Buses" in and around Taos County, but not many know the history or significance of this system.The North Central Regional Transit District is home to the Blue …

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My Turn

Opinion: The NCRTD Blue Bus is a service that benefits all of us

Posted

Many of us have seen and used the "Blue Buses" in and around Taos County, but not many know the history or significance of this system.

The North Central Regional Transit District is home to the Blue Bus. When this service was being proposed to Taos County back in the early 2000s, I served as a County Commissioner. I felt it was important to bring this project forward as the price of fuel at the time was getting close to $4 per gallon. Citizens throughout the county needed help getting to and from work.

Fast-forward more than a decade later, and the NCRTD is engrained in our community, providing service and access to our citizens to get to their jobs, doctor appointments, shopping centers, the University of New Mexico - Taos Branch, and elsewhere. People have saved on their fuel expenses and wear and tear on personal vehicles. The NCRTD has expanded its services to many parts of Northern New Mexico, which has been extremely valuable to our community members.

Taos County as a whole is a low-income community, so it made sense to offer this public transit service at minimal cost to the rider when it was first established, and this is still true today. It makes me feel good knowing that the service is for everyone, and people are saving money by using the Blue Buses. It truly is a service that is for all to benefit from. People tell me that, by using it, they can afford to buy things for their family that they couldn't afford to purchase before. The dollars saved in fuel have really made a difference in the lives of individuals and families here in Taos County.

If this service were ever taken away, it would be devastating to Northern New Mexico as gas prices continue to rise. It would mean that citizens who use the Blue Bus would have to go back to using their private vehicles to go to and from school, work, meetings, doctor appointments, shopping, etc. And, those without personal vehicles, disabled individuals as well as seniors who can no longer drive, would suffer the most as they would have no other option.

The NCRTD is a service I am proud to support, and when Election Day comes this November, I will definitely be voting yes for their re-authorization of funding. Doing so won't raise taxes, so we are essentially voting for everything to remain the same. Back when we first voted on this issue, Taos County had the highest majority of supportive votes out of the four-county service area.

Let's make that happen once again as we show our appreciation for this incredible service. I urge all citizens in Taos County, as well as all of Northern New Mexico, to vote yes for the re-authorization of funding for NCRTD --the Blue Bus.

Gonzales is a former Taos County Commissioner.

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