About the Study
In 2003, Governor Bill Richardson signed into law the Regional Transit NCRTD Act. This legislation authorized the creation of regional transit districts in the State of New Mexico.
In 2004, Governor Bill Richardson signed legislation that allowed City and County Governments that were members of a Regional Transit Districts, to go to the voters for approval of an increase of up to ½ of one percent in Gross Receipt Tax to fund their participation in an RTD.
In September 2004 the NCRTD was the first RTD to be certified by the New Mexico Transportation Commission. Upon issuance of certification from the New Mexico Transportation Commission the NCRTD constitutes a separate political entity. A requirement from the New Mexico Department of Transportation was to submit a Transit Service Plan within one year of the formation of the NCRTD. The NCRTD Board approved the NCRTDs first Transit Service Plan in July 2006.
73-25-2. The purpose of the Regional Transit District Act;
- Serve the public by providing for the creation of regional networks of safe and efficient public transit services;
- Allow multijurisdictional public transit systems to reduce the congestion of single- occupant motor vehicle traffic by providing transportation options for residents;
- Decrease automobile accidents by reducing traffic congestion on freeways and streets;
- Reduce noise and air pollution produced by motor vehicles;
- Prolong and extend the life of New Mexico's existing roadways by easing the traffic burden;
- Provide residents with a choice of transportation alternatives so that seniors, youth, low-income and mobility-impaired residents and others unable to drive or afford motor vehicles continue to have full access to the goods, services, jobs and activities of the community;
- Improve the New Mexico economy by increasing workforce and citizen access to education and higher paying jobs; and
- Prolong and extend petroleum resources.
In February 2007 the NCRTD adopted its branding, and in April began its first bus service project. In July 2007 the NCRTD signed Memorandums of Agreement between the City of Española and Rio Arriba County to transfer service, employees and equipment to the NCRTD. In October 2007 the NCRTD began operating transit service in four counties.
In January 2008 NCRTD hired a Contractor to expand and update the Transit Service Plan for the proposed usage of the Gross Receipts Tax (GRT). April 2008 the NCRTD Board approved the GRT resolution adopting a 1/8 of one percent tax, and in November 2008 the public voted for approval of the GRT in all four counties of its service area.
In July 2015 the NCRTD acquired the Town of Taos transit system known as the Chile Line and all assets, employees and facilities.
Presently the NCRTD has 24 fixed and commuter routes regionally, 2 demand response services, and 1 Dial-A-Ride service in Rio Arriba County within a 15 mile radius of the Española Park and Ride lot; complementary flex paratransit services on all routes (outside of the Town of Taos) as well as the Chile RIDE paratransit in the Town of Taos. All routes are fare free except for the Mountain Trail and Taos Express.
The NCRTD assets consist of an Administrative facility and light maintenance bay in Española, a fleet maintenance facility and office trailer in Taos. NCRTD has a fleet of 41 buses and paratransit vehicles and additional support fleet. Annual vehicle miles are 998,480. The NCRTD provides service Monday through Friday (excluding certain recognized holidays). The premium RTD Mountain Trail and TSV Green route operate seven days per week (including holidays) during the winter ski season and Taos Express provides Saturday and Sunday express service. The NCRTD employs 66 employees. Annual ridership for 2015 for NCRTD provided services is 184,320 and NCRTD funded services is 317,616 for a total ridership of 501,936. The NCRTD members are four counties, four cities, and six tribal entities, with over 10,000 square miles of service area with an approximate population of 235,000.
The City of Santa Fe transit system known as the “Santa Fe Trails” has performed fixed route service since 1991 and currently has ten (10) fixed routes within the City of Santa Fe city limits and some limited service in Santa Fe County. Two (2) fixed shuttle routes are directed to service visitors and commuters and are in addition to the 10 fixed routes available.
Paratransit services providing roughly 31,643 trips per year. Santa Fe Trails operates seven (7) days a week 6:00 am to 10:0 pm Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Saturday and 8:00 am to 6:30 pm Sundays providing approximately 45 square miles of service area. Santa Fe Trail’s yearly ridership for 2015 was 980,000 trips. Currently the City of Santa Fe population is approximately 82,500 and the City receives more than one million visitors per year.
Santa Fe Trails has a fleet of 30 buses and eighteen paratransit vehicles as well as several additional support vehicles.
Currently there are one hundred twenty three (123) employees budgeted to operate Santa Fe Trails.
Assets include Santa Fe Trails Administrative Building, Operations Building, and Maintenance Shop, Wash Bay and CNG slow-fill fueling station and 423 bus stops throughout the City’s service area.
City transit system employees are represented by the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) 3999, however not all classifications are included in union representation. NCRTD drivers and dispatchers are represented by Teamsters Local No. 492 and all other classifications are non-represented.
During the City of Santa Fe’s budget discussions earlier in the year, the Mayor, Council, and City Manager discussed various ideas about creating cost efficiencies with several city services including transit. In order to better understand the opportunities for service coordination, cost efficiencies and coordination, the City Council passed a resolution in April 2016 calling for a feasibility study for transit consolidation between the City of Santa Fe and the North Central Regional Transit District (NCRTD). The NCRTD Board passed a similar resolution supporting the joint effort. NMDOT supported and helped to fund the study.
After a competitive bid process, the agencies selected Transportation Management & Design, Inc. (TMD) to lead the transit system consolidation analysis. TMD will lead the study with support from Felsburg Holt & Ullevig (FHU) a transportation specialist organization based in Denver, Colorado and Rosemary Romero Consulting a local business leading the public involvement component of the study.
The consultant team will develop a number of consolidation options. Each option will be evaluated to:
- Assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, and obstacles
- Provide a detailed analysis of financial, legal, and labor implications
- Understand sharing and/or use of existing and future physical assets and labor force
- Understand service performance and integration.
A final document describing the preferred option (s) will be prepared. Even if no consolidation is ultimately recommended, this study will include short, mid, and long term strategies that can be used to achieve a more coordinated system.
Summary of Project Tasks
Task 1: Study Consensus-Building and Presentations
In order to ensure that stakeholders, employees and the general public have had an opportunity for public input it is critical that a viable, transparent and open input process be developed at the beginning of the study. Furthermore, choosing and implementing a particular option will require that a level of consensus at the decision-making level is achieved. To do this, the Consultant will need to provide information and assistance as needed. Specific efforts are anticipated to include:
Task 2: Evaluation of Current Operations
The Consultant will evaluate the operational and financial condition of each transit system by conducting the following:
- Financial Analysis
- Physical Asset Analysis
- Labor Force Analysis
- Service Evaluation
Task 3: Development and Evaluation of Proposed Consolidation Options
Consolidation options will be developed and evaluated. The evaluation will fully assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of each option as well as any obstacles, including a detailed analysis of financial and legal and labor implications, sharing and/or use of existing and future physical assets and labor force, as well as service performance and integration.
Task 4: Guidance and Implementation Documentation
A final document describing the preferred option(s) will be prepared, regardless of the outcome. Even if no consolidation is ultimately recommended, this study will include short, mid, and long term strategies that can be used to achieve a more coordinated system for system users.
The following deliverables are anticipated as part of this project process.
- Executive Summary
- Needs Assessment Report
- Financial Assessment Report
- Service Assessment Report
- Preliminary Options Report
- Implementation Strategy
- Short and Long Range Financial Plan
- Funding Strategies
- Final Consolidation Plan
- Stakeholder Involvement Record
- Proposed labor force report and recommendations
- Distribution of capital funds
- 5,10 and 20 year plans for both entities
- Strategic plan for 2023 if the GRT 1/8 tax sunset is not removed by the voters