The North Central Regional Transit District, the organization responsible for the fare-free and low-cost "blue buses" in Taos and Northern New Mexico, has added routes that will serve the Jicarilla Apache Nation in Río Arriba and Sandoval counties.
The transit district began the new service from Dulce, Chama and Farmington Oct. 2, according to a press release from the district.
The Jicarilla Apache Nation collaborated with the transit district and in October 2016 received a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration for $211,197. The route was determined by rider surveys, which emphasized the need for access to health care, job centers and fresh food retailers.
"There will be four roundtrips between Chama and Dulce each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On 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," the release read.
"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," read a statement by the Jicarilla Apache Nation.
In announcing the route, Dan Barrone, mayor of Taos and chair of the transit district, noted that "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 North Central Regional Transit District provides fare-free and premium fare bus service from the Colorado border in Costilla to several cities and pueblos south of Taos. For more information, visit ridethebluebus.com.