You might remember an earlier post I wrote about an Albuquerque RIDE (municipal transit system) bus which was involved in a collision when its driver, noshing on a breakfast burrito, failed to notice the stopped car in front of him and rear-ended the vehicle.
And you may remember all of the drama which has surrounded the city’s attempt to implement a faster public transportation system along Central Avenue. The system, called “Albuquerque Rapid Transit” was a poor substitution for a light rail system that previous administrations touted as the wave of the future but that few others supported. ART ended up being a plan to use electric buses to zoom people along Central on a route which seemed to dodge more likely users of a pseudo light rail system. The proposed route also reduced the number of driving lanes in the busy street and many trees — particularly in the trendy Nob Hill area — had to be removed.
The project got off to a rocky start when the electric buses showed up late. Then testing, which seemed to go on interminably, concluded that the buses’ electric range was not as long as has been touted. Then city officials found other manufacturing flaws with the buses.
The city finally rejected the initial order of buses and ordered a new batch from a more reputable supplier.
Then things got worse. The loading platforms in the middle of the street turned out to not be the correct height, resulting in the fancy new buses accidentally smashing into fixtures on the loading platform. Drivers were confused by the flow of traffic and frequently collided with ART buses or were in turn crunched by the them.
And now the latest danger from the ART system? Falling light fixtures.
It seems that when the high-tech lighting fixtures were installed, some were not installed properly or were manufactured improperly. They have been raining down as high as 25 feet to the street below. Fortunately, no drivers or pedestrians have been injured, but the city has now filed a lawsuit of at least $2.5 million to have the deviant lighting fixtures corrected or replaced.
Perhaps ART might need to be renamed the “Aggressively Recalcitrant Transportation” system.