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Transportation Forum Shows Valencia County Residents How They Can Get Around

Jose Campos, director of Valencia County Older Americans Programs, called the increase a Tsunami of seniors.

Currently his program transports seniors to the area’s five senior centers, as well as shopping and the commodity center, as well as trips to Albuquerque for medical purposes. The rides are free but seniors are asked to donate $1 for local rides and $3 for trips to Albuquerque. Interested seniors can sign up at any of the area senior centers for the service.

Vangie Gabaldon, of the Rio Metro Regional Transit District, which manges transportation in Valencia County, said the agency recently acquired the city of Belen and the village of Los Lunas’ public transportation programs.

The program has a fleet of 22 buses and operates locally Monday through Fridays from 5:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., serving all ages. They do not provide medical transportation to Albuquerque. Most rides cost $1 one way but for people age 62 and older, disabled individuals or children ages 10 to 17, the cost is 50 cents one way. Children under 9 ride free.

Riders should call in a day ahead to arrange for service at 505-352-3595.

Terry Doyle, director of the Rio Metro Regional Transit District, which also manages the New Mexico Rail Runner Express, discussed utilizing the train but was more interested in hearing what areas people thought were lacking.

One gentlemen said the train needed a more varied scheduled while another said people weren’t sure how to get to their destination once they got to the train stop and needed a lot more information on connections into the city.

People can get more information on the New Mexico Rail Runner Express, which serves Valencia, Bernalillo, Sandoval and Santa Fe counties, and its connections at  1-866-795-RAIL (7245).
Many people don’t realize that another program that can help with medical non-emergency transportation is Medicaid.

Carolos Maruffo, director of Adaptive Non Emergency Transportation, said transportation services are free if an individual is Medicaid eligible. For more information on the program call 505-865-6000.

Many communities around New Mexico have similar programs. Residents interested in learning more about transportation options in the neighborhoods should contact their local government office for more information.

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