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Old Posted May 3, 2012, 4:48 PM
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mwadswor mwadswor is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Tempe, AZ
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Rail Runner adds express trains, ups fares

The New Mexico Rail Runner Express is adding two express trains and quiet cars to its schedule, as well as ticketing via mobile phones. It is also implementing a new fare structure, according to the Rio Metro Transit District.

Fares for one-way trips and day passes are set to increase by $1 to $2, while monthly passes will increase by $4 to $11. This is the first time the Rail Runner Express has implemented a fare increase and the changes follow meetings last fall to address a funding shortfall for the train.

The cost for the two new trains and other services will be covered by the fare increase as well as new federal clean air grant funds of about $4.8 million, said Jay Faught, marketing manager with Rio Metro. The district saved about $1.2 million by renegotiating its contract with Herzog Transit Services, which operates the Rail Runner under contract with Rio Metro.

Starting May 21, passengers using the express trains will be able to save 20 to 25 minutes in each direction on their commute between Albuquerque and Santa Fe because the express trains will skip three stations (downtown Bernalillo and the pueblos of Sandia and Santo Domingo/Kewa) and they will have a second locomotive attached to save time traveling the steep grade enroute to Santa Fe.

The new express service is designed to get people to work by 8 a.m. The evening train departs Santa Fe shortly after 5 p.m. There are also changes in the weekend schedule.

Rio Metro will inaugurate a bus route in the Village of Los Lunas to bring residents to the Rail Runner station in the morning and then back in the evening. And it is piloting a program that will allow passengers to purchase tickets with their smart phones and present them to ticket agents to scan on their phones. A new smart phone app will be released later this year to facilitate the process.

Faught said the district is also highlighting the commuter tax benefit program that allows participating employers and employees to set aside pre-tax dollars for transit passes. Many employers are already working with third-party providers to offer this benefit, he said, but others might not know it is available.
Photothreads on Tempe Town Lake, Santa Fe and the Rail Runner, Baltimore, and the Phoenix Sky train.
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