homelessness

ABQ Council Wrong on ‘Free’ Bus Rides, Morally And Practically

It’s the lazy leading the lazy in Albuquerque.

City Council on Monday voted unanimously to end bus fares for all riders. 

The $3 million program will save riders the wallet-busting one dollar it currently cost them to get across town.

Advocates argued that the $1 fare was an impediment to refugees “who’d been laughed at or scared about being late for work” and families who just want to “experience Albuquerque more fully.”

If that sounds to you like the two weakest arguments ever made to justify why taxpayers should cough up more money for the homeless, that’s because it is, and the Council knows it. 

This was about optics, virtue-signaling, and do-gooderism, not helping workers and families. 

It’s hard to say who’s lazier: our unprincipled leaders who shirked their moral responsibility by drafting a policy that robs Albuquerque residents of both dignity and personal responsibility, or the residents themselves, who now have to put in exactly zero effort to benefit from a program taxpayers will once again front the bill for.

The same logic used to justify making rides free can be and ought to have been applied to charging for rides: the $1 fee is a financial barrier that prevents abuse.

If Council wanted to help scared refugees and bored families, it should have kept the $1 fare and implemented a program for said affected to qualify for free rides. The qualification could be as simple as a phone call or email, an online form, a mailer: Name, Reason or Requesting Free Bus Pass, Address Where To Mail It. 

This would eliminate the security issues that come with giving free rides to the bums, junkies, and drunks — saving the city thousands in security costs — without discouraging regular residents from getting on the bus.

Because you can bet your life these Councilors wouldn’t let their kids within a city block of the Red Line.

There is a time and place for charity and an effective social safety net, but “free for all” doesn’t benefit anyone. 

There is no dignity in being given something for nothing. By requiring a simple qualification process, the people who ride the bus for work or school would at least know they’ve put in some effort to earn it.  

Instead, they’ll be reminded every morning that they did no more to deserve a ride than the dregs of Downtown who are passed out in the seat behind them.

Good job, Council. You had an opportunity to save money AND help people, and instead you went for virtue signaling.

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