From wagon-rutted trails to trains to Route 66, Albuquerque has long found itself at the crossroads of transportation. Albuquerque’s neighborhoods such as Old Town and Nob Hill tend to be pedestrian friendly, but getting around the 189-sq-mile city is admittedly easiest by car.
Albuquerque traffic flows fairly well and it’s possible to drive across the city in 30 minutes or so, barring accidents. Parking is readily available and is often free, with parking meters in downtown and Nob Hill accepting credit cards.
Still, while Albuquerque hasn't embraced public transportation as have some larger cities, it has taken steps in the past few years to increase its accessibility and decrease its carbon footprint. Here are the best ways to navigate Albuquerque via public transportation.
ABQ Ride buses serve 40 routes throughout Albuquerque, with fares costing $2 for a one-day pass and discounts available for students, people 60 years and older, and those with mobility impairments. Buses have bike racks to ease getting around town on bicycle. ABQ Ride is based out of Alvarado Transit Station downtown, where the New Mexico Rail Runner Express commuter train that travels between Albuquerque and Santa Fe is also based. The Sun Van paratransit shuttle service is available for riders physically unable to use ABQ Ride buses.
The Albuquerque Rapid Transit line (ART) travels the length of Central Avenue, stopping at popular destinations such as the ABQ BioPark, Downtown, University of New Mexico, Nob Hill and Expo New Mexico. ART buses arrive at stations every 8 to 15 minutes, and run until 11pm on weekends. Ticket prices are also $2 for a one-day pass, although ART does offer fee-free periods.
Rio Metro buses travel between Rail Runner stations and points throughout Albuquerque and Rio Rancho. Services also run between Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Los Alamos.
Getting to and from Albuquerque Airport: Rio Metro Bus Route 50 takes passengers between Alvarado Transit Station downtown and Albuquerque International Sunport with several stops along Martin Luther King, Jr. and Yale Boulevards for a 25-minute commute. Route 250 travels to and from Albuquerque International Sunport to Alvarado Transit Station downtown with no stops via Interstate 25, making for a 15 minute commute. Buses from the airport are boarded at the stop on Level 1 outside the baggage claim area.
The New Mexico Rail Runner Express passenger train travels between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, making several stops in both cities. The cost for a day pass between downtown Alvarado Transit Station and Santa Fe Depot is $9 if purchased online. Reduced fares are available for those 62 and older or 17 and younger. Children aged 9 and younger and veterans with ID ride free of charge. Rio Metro buses await trains arriving at stops, further easing commuting within Albuquerque and Santa Fe.
The trip between downtown Albuquerque and Santa Fe Depot takes 1.5 hours and passes through scenic landscapes along the Río Grande and Interstate 25 corridors. On weekdays the last train leaves the Santa Fe Depot at 9pm, at 10:14pm on Saturdays and 8:10pm on Sundays. Tickets may be purchased online, at ticketing machines at stations or in-person once aboard. Online fares are cheaper.
Albuquerque has more than 400 miles of paved bicycling routes throughout the city that are used for commuting and recreation. The Paseo del Bosque Trail is a 16-mile paved path that follows the Río Grande corridor from Alameda Boulevard to Tingley Beach, and is popular for both its commuting convenience and scenic beauty. Cottonwoods line the trail providing shade and brilliant fall color. The 50-mile Activity Loop is a route that encircles Albuquerque, passing through several neighborhoods and attractions. Check the City of Albuquerque's Bike Page for maps and upcoming cycling events. Routes Bicycle Tours and Rentals rents bikes and offers several themed bike tours of the city including winery tours, Balloon Fiesta tours, and filming location tours for the TV series Breaking Bad.
As well as being one of Albuquerque’s top attractions, the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway is an efficient way to get to the top of the mountain that overlooks the city to the east. The Tram trades an 1.5-hour drive or an 8-mile hike for a 15-minute flight up the west face of the Sandías. From the 10,378ft upper terminal visitors enjoy the views of Albuquerque and the sunset, hiking miles of trails or dining at Ten 3 restaurant. Two tram cars simultaneously travel up and down the 2.7-mile long cables that pass over the scenic and rugged wilderness below. Tram cars leave every 30 minutes, but operations can be suspended due to high winds.
Those traveling to the top of the Sandía Mountains should be prepared for temperatures as much as 30-degrees cooler than the base and should bring jackets or coats, even in the summer. Round-trip tram tickets are $29 per adult with senior, youth, and military discounts available. The time for the last tram car down each evening is typically 10pm Thursday through Monday, but be sure to check with staff. The Tram is closed on Tuesdays and for a two-week period for maintenance in April and November. Check the website before making plans.