Say what you will about ART—as the city of Albuquerque has come to know the long-beleaguered public transit project initiated under the aegis of the Mayor Richard Berry—the project finally turned a corner today.
With the announcement by city officials that all of the BYD electric buses in this city have been returned to their point of origin in southern California—where the huge Chinese conglomerate has a factory and sales outlet—the Keller administration can begin plans to move forward towards realizing a use for the otherwise fully constructed and manned project.
Transit Department officials sent a notice to the media saying, “The City has made it clear that contractual performance standards are simply not being met regarding battery charge ranges and required federal Altoona testing. Furthermore, the City will not jeopardize the safety of drivers and residents and is rejecting the buses.”
Mayor Keller, meanwhile, was quoted as saying, “This is a weight off of our shoulders. … It was good to see these problematic buses leaving town. It’s unfortunate the company couldn’t deliver and it leaves our city’s ART project years behind.”
Ultimately it was safety problems that led to the end of the current ART vision. Buses performed poorly in local safety tests and a report in the Los Angeles Times was critical of the company and its products.
City leadership will no doubt discuss options in the coming days, but for now there will be no ART service in 2018, at the very least.
Stay tuned to Weekly Alibi as we cover this developing story.