Friday at its monthly Board meeting, the North Central Regional Transit District (NCRTD) voted unanimously to place a pause on consolidation of transit operations of the Santa Fe Trails bus into the NCRTD system.
The decision included language that examination of the consolidation/merger can be considered in future years, after the District resolves the sunset GRT election and if the parties believe there is merit to a new exploration. The Board report does not preclude hearing any further suggestions from the City of Santa Fe Council. A complete copy of the agenda report can be viewed at www.ncrtd.org under Board of Directors in the Agendas section. Oct. 13, 2017 meeting.
In March and April of 2016, the NCRTD Board and City of Santa Fe approved a Letter of Intent regarding an analysis (study) between the two entities to explore the cost savings, long-term financial stability, efficiencies and realignment of their organization and staffing, service delivery priorities, and short- and long-term capital needs and infrastructure maintenance.
The letter called for a feasibility study and an independent third party was brought in to conduct the study and analysis. That report was presented to the NCRTD Board, City of Santa Fe Council and residents of the city in late August.
During the discussion, NCRTD Board member and City of Santa Fe Councilor, Joseph Maestas, commented that he saw a great deal of merit in the study and its findings, and that both entities had much they could take away from it. He reiterated that he feels consolidation still has merit and should not be dismissed across the board, and that there would be much the two parties could do to continue to work together in the interest of providing a coordinated, expanded regional public transit network with greater connectivity and expanded local bus service.
NCRTD Executive Director, Anthony Mortillaro concurred and added that those discussions had already begun with Santa Fe Trails senior staff and the desire to work together is strong on both sides. Mortillaro went on to say that, “there is a nationwide movement towards consolidation within the transit industry, to expand regional services and provide more seamless public transit connectivity in order to increase ridership, reduce duplicative expenditures, and to enhance economic development opportunities and provide greater benefits to the public.”
The North Central Regional Transit District provides fare-free and premium fare bus service Mondaythrough Friday to a service 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, Taos RTD Chile Line and Red River Miner’s Transit.