Monday, Oct. 2, the North Central Regional Transit District (NCRTD) will begin providing fare-free bus transit service between Dulce, Chama and Farmington in a partnership arrangement with the Jicarilla Apache Nation (JAN).
There will be four roundtrips between Chama and Dulce each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Tuesday and Thursday, the route begins in the morning in Chama and continues on to Dulce, Bloomfield and Farmington. It returns to Dulce midday and early afternoon departs Dulce for Bloomfield and Farmington and late afternoon returns east from Farmington and concludes in Chama. In Farmington, the bus will stop at the Orchard Plaza, a transit hub for Red Apple Transit, allowing riders to access locations throughout Farmington.
In October 2016, JAN was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for $211,197, after collaboration with NCRTD on grant application and submittal.
In announcing the award, the FTA stated, “The Jicarilla Apache Nation will receive funding for a new bus to provide transit service on a new route to Tribal residents to Chama and Farmington, N.M. The new route was selected with input from a transit rider survey, and has an emphasis on access to healthcare, job centers and fresh food retailers, which are scarce for Tribal residents and residents of the Chama Valley.”
According to a statement by the Jicarilla Apache Nation, “We welcome public transportation to the Jicarilla Apache Nation. Transit is a needed service for us here in rural Dulce. It will not only increase access to business-related services but also recreational activities. I encourage our Jicarilla members to take advantage of this free bus service.”
Daniel Barrone, NCRTD Chair and Mayor of the Town of Taos stated “The NCRTD and its member entities are excited to be collaborating and working with the Jicarilla Apache Nation to expand Tribal and community member access to medical, shopping, jobs and schools, as well as basic quality-of-life services. At 111 miles, the segment from Chama to Farmington will become the longest route in our District of more than 10,000 square miles.”
The Jicarilla Apache Indian Reservation is located within two northern New Mexico counties — Rio Arriba and Sandoval, and extends from the Colorado border south to Cuba, New Mexico. The reservation has a land area of 1,364 square miles and has a population of approximately 3974. Most of its people live in the Tribal headquarters community of Dulce, near the reservation’s northern end.
The North Central Regional Transit District provides fare-free and premium fare bus service to an area that encompasses over 10,000 square miles of north central New Mexico including the counties of Taos, Los Alamos, Rio Arriba and Santa Fe; the Cities of Santa Fe and Española and the Towns of Taos and Edgewood; as well as the Pueblos of Pojoaque, Ohkay Owingeh, Nambé, San Ildefonso, Santa Clara and Tesuque. The agency’s signature “RTD Blue Buses” provide additional transit connections to New Mexico Rail Runner, Santa Fe Trails, New Mexico Park and Ride, Los Alamos Atomic City Transit and Red River Miner’s Transit.