Fine art is said to be the type of gift that keeps on giving over many years and is appreciated by its owners and the public. It is said that you never buy art for an investment and only if you truly like it because you may never find another buyer once you become tired of it. Business administration principals provide the basic understanding about running a successful business to make a profit and not to destroy a business.
Mayor Tim Keller attended Notre Dame where he studied Art History and he went on to earn a Masters of Business Administration with honors from the Harvard Business School. You would think Keller actually learned something about art as well as business administration given what his education cost him.
In the city of Albuquerque, and in Keller’s own warped “BURQUE” world, the city’s fine ART work is a poorly designed bus system along central that has destroyed many a thriving businesses. The ART bus line operates in the “red” and continues to be a drain on city resources with few riders.
PAINTING THE TOWN RED
It has been reported that the city is continuing with its efforts to try and make the disastrous and poorly designed ART Bus along central more user friendly, this time with red paint. On Tuesday, May 25, city maintenance crews began to paint ART Bus lanes with a bright red. The paint job will be in areas along Central Avenue to signal the areas where busses go in either direction in one lane so as to make it easier for other drivers to avoid driving head on into the buses. The central blocks are in east downtown, west downtown and the area in front of UNM which has already been painted.
The city’s Transit Department Director Danny Holcomb said the red lanes had to get federally approved before the work could begin and he said:
“This is the same funding we got for the entire ART project. … We had some money left over, and we wanted to do as many safety improvements as we can. … “We’re moving the stop bars back a little bit on the intersection so if you’re on a lane next to a bus, you can actually see the bus next to you while you’re making your left turn or u-turn.”
In addition to making safety improvements, the city needs to hire more bus drivers. People can apply on the city’s website.
2020 CITY OF ALBQUERQUE PROGRESS REPORT AND TRANSIT BUDGET
On March 2, the City of Albuquerque released the biennial progress report for 2020. It’s a summary of progress across eight major goals set by the city council, compiled by the Indicators Progress Commission (IPC). The survey was conducted by the respected and highly accurate Research and Polling. According to the polling under Infrastructure, the city’s bus ridership per capita is less than 1% and is reported to be an extremely disappointing 0.20% for the integrated transportation system.
The city’s Transit Department provides fixed routes in the form of ABQ Ride and the rapid transit (ART) bus service and Para-Transit (SunVan) service for the mobility impaired population.
The fiscal year 2022 approved budget for the Transit Department Operating Fund is $49 million, an increase of $1.7 million or 3.5% above the Fiscal year original budget. The transit department employs 574 full time employees. In 2020, the ART bus line was reported to have a total of 814,295 boarding’s for the entire year, Rapid ride had 152,381 total boarding for the year and commuter total boarding were 98,000.
Pages 161 to 164, City of Albuquerque budget:
Historically, city bus ridership has plummeted.
According to one report, the 2020 bus boarding’s were down a whopping 43% over previous year or 3.9 million fewer boarding’s. Boarding’s were down by 61% since 2012 peak which is 7.9 million fewer boarding. While ridership plunged, the Transit Department’s budget increased by 28%
COMMENTARTY AND ANALYSIS
Might as well call ART the “red line” that destroyed historic route 66, and Mayor Keller has had a lot to do with that.
Mayor Tim Keller a few months after being elected announced that the ART Bus project was “a bit of a lemon”. Instead of abandoning the project, Keller made the deliberate decision to finish the ART Bus Project. Keller spent over half of his term to complete the ART Bus project and the city is still trying to make it work.
Since starting service November 30, 2019, the ART buses have had accident after accident and upwards of 25 major accidents and upwards of 30 minor accidents. The accidents range from a minor “fender benders” to more serious crashes, including two that temporarily sidelined two buses. Multiple crashes have resulted in damage to other vehicles, including at least 3 that involved Albuquerque police officers. There have also been crashes involving pedestrians, one of which left an 18-year-old woman dead.
Notwithstanding all the accidents, and the proof of a poorly designed project, Keller refused to shut down the bus line and find alternative uses for the bus stop platforms. Berry’s Boondoggle became Keller’s Crisis Project that has now destroyed historic Route 66.
Keller with great bravado ordered the filing of a breach of contract lawsuit against the bus manufacture saying in part:
“We’re no longer going to be guinea pigs [for the bus manufacturer] anymore … Obviously, we very concerned about what we’ve been put through as a city … I think down the road, we’re interested in being fairly compensated for what we have been misled on these buses.”
A few weeks later, Keller settled the case with a mutual dismissal of claims. Absolutely no damages were paid to the city by the bus manufacturer, even for the loss revenue to the city for the delay.
The ART Bus was temporarily suspended as a result of the corona virus pandemic. During the temporary closure of the bus line, the Keller Administration began spending in January, 2021 over $200,000 more to construct “pin curbs” which are concrete edging to form barriers to boundaries for the dedicated bus lanes to prevent vehicles from traveling into the dedicated lanes.
The ART Bus project will never be appreciated let alone used and is a failure from the standpoint of business administration as ridership continues to plummet. Keller’s taste for ART is a waste of investment.
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