Written by Bob Campbell
Assistant City Manager
City of Farmington
This article is part of a project of the local Community Health Improvement Council (CHIC). CHIC’s were created statewide in conjunction with the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) with the goal of getting local citizens and county governments more involved in the manner in which health might be improved in each of their communities. The local CHIC is conducting an on-going awareness campaign addressing all the areas that can potentially affect a person’s health. April has been designated by the CHIC as the month to bring awareness on Public Transportation in San Juan County.
Public transportation … its not just for those people! Public transportation is here for everyone - professionals, workers, students, seniors, and the physically challenged. Even Vice President Joe Biden has regularly used public transportation to commute from his home in Delaware to Washington D.C. In 2012 there were 10.5 billion public transit trips throughout the United States. For many, particularly for seniors and persons with disabilities, public transportation is a lifeline, providing access to important services and activities that improve public health such as health care appointments, basic shopping, banking, education, employment and family visits.
There are health benefits in using public transportation. Studies have found that persons using public transportation get three (3) times the physical activity daily, as compared to their counterparts who commute by private vehicle. Every Red Apple Bus that serves San Juan County is equipped with bike racks for your added convenience and physical activity. And, did you know that riding the bus is 20 times safer than driving a vehicle? Public transit is a perfect alternative to driving, particularly for students who commute to school. Riding the bus is stress free. You can read the paper, check your e-mail account, listen to music or read a book all on your way to work, school or shopping. An AARP study found that seniors and persons with disabilities without access to public transportation make 15% fewer visits to their health care providers and 65% fewer social activities such as visiting friends, family or religious functions. Public transportation helps keeps our community healthy.
By choosing to ride the bus you help everyone in our community by keeping the air cleaner. Nationally, public transportation saves 4.2 billion gallons of fuel annually. And if that isn’t enough, public transit in just five (5) major cities (Washington D.C, Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles and New York) reduces carbon emissions by 37 million metric tons annually. On a personal note, if you replaced the second car in your household by using public transportation, you would reduce your family’s carbon emission footprint by 10%.
Did I say replace your household’s second car? Holy cow, you can save money too! The second largest expense in a family’s budget, next to housing, is transportation. Sixteen cents of every dollar goes toward the cost, maintenance and operation of a vehicle. The average family can save over $6,250 a year by replacing that second car and using public transportation. And again, you can help your community because every dollar spent on public transit has a trickle down economic benefit within the community of $4.00, thereby creating jobs!
In November 1999 the City started the Red Apple Transit bus system with one route that weaved through the City making 15 bus stops. Today, the Red Apple Transit operates 8 routes daily throughout San Juan County, making more than 130 bus stops. They operate five (5) days a week from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM with reduced services also provided on Saturdays. They provide service to Aztec, Bloomfield and Kirtland three (3) times a day. The five (5) bus routes within the City of Farmington occur on the hour or every half hour depending on your route. Main Street is served from the Civic Center to the Animas Valley Mall to Lowes, Target, Walmart, Safeway and Home Depot. There are also two (2) routes serving San Juan College. For medical care there are two (2) routes - one serving San Juan Regional Medical Center and medical facilities within that area, and the second serving the medical facilities on 30th Avenue. You can ride the Red Apple to the movies or to Berg Park and so much more. Rides are $1.00 for general ridership, and $.50 cents for students and seniors. Please call 325-3409 for more information.
2014 April 01
KSJE 90.9 FM
The Scott Michlin Morning Program
Link to City of Farmington
Red Apple Transit Fares
Link to Red Apple Transit web page and downloadable route maps.