Public Bus Service Expands In Southern New Mexico
On Saturday, June 7, community members and leaders from the Empowerment Congress, a project of the Ocotillo Institute for Social Justice, will hold simultaneous public celebrations in Chaparral, La Union, and Radium Springs to spread the word about the start of the last portion of the public bus service pilot program that is being developed by the South Central Regional Transit District (SCRTD) in conjunction with Rio Grande Transit and Z-Trans. The new southern routes will begin on June 9.
Members of the Empowerment Congress and their allies in at least eight communities, including La Union, Chaparral, Del Cerro, Radium Springs, Dona Ana, Butterfield, Organ, and Moongate are organizing the celebrations, which will take place on June 7 from 1-3pm at the Radium Springs Community Resource Center,12060 L B Lindbeck Rd and Chaparral Fire House, 827 Luna Dr. The events are free and family friendly: food, entertainment, and bus schedules will be provided. Community members will be joined by local elected officials and representatives from the SCRTD. The Empowerment Congress Transportation Committee has been meeting since May, 2013 with the purpose of bringing our rural communities together through public transit, which it hopes will, in the future, become permanent and be expanded to more routes and more days.
The SCRTD pilot project routes in the south valley will be operational as of June 9 and will run on Highway 404 from Chaparral to Anthony, Highway 28 and Highway 478 from Sunland Park to Las Cruces, and Highway 25 from Truth or Consequences to Las Cruces. The service on Hwy 404, Hwy 28, and Hwy 478 runs three times a day,Monday through Friday. The service to T or C (partially on I-25) runs Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and all routes are free. Funding for the project comes from SCRTD membership fees paid by two counties, Sierra County and Doña Ana County, and eight municipalities that are located in those counties.
“Physical transportation is the key to connecting communities. This transportation project also connects communities by building relationships and creating sustainable, county wide leadership to improve quality of life where we live,” says Marisol Diaz, Empowerment Congress Community Connections Coordinator. “It’s great to see communities celebrating their success and using fun events to do outreach and planning.”
“Transportation access has been a priority for La Union residents for many years,” says Maryann Galindo, La Union Town Council Chair and Empowerment Congress Planning Committee member. “Now that we are connected to other communities who want the same change that we do through the Empowerment Congress, we are able to make it happen together. “
Information from: Ocotillo Institute for Social Justice