Just weeks after agreeing to cut weekend Rail Runner Express services, the Rio Metro Regional Transit District board voted today to keep them under different routes, according to the Albuquerque Journal.
The original June decision was meant to plug a $1.2 million shortfall in the commuter train's budget. The train connects Santa Fe and Albuquerque.
The new schedule, which goes into effect after Labor Day, narrows two routes that leave Santa Fe at 8:30pm and 9:30pm to one slated to depart at 9pm. It also replaces bus services with a northbound route that leaves downtown Albuquerque at 4:02am and a southbound route that leaves US 550 at 4:32am.
The board approved the new schedule 14-1. The Rio Metro staff expects it to save the state $2 million during fiscal year 2012, which began July 1.
Before the meeting, Santa Fe Mayor David Coss expressed a willingness to put more city money into the system to keep it running on weekends. Santa Fe pays for about half of its costs through an 1/8-cent gross tax receipt.
"I'm very hopeful [the weekend service cuts] can be prevented," he told SFR earlier in the week. "They're very important to the connectivity of the communities."
Santa Fe County Commissioner Kathy Holian says local businesses want to keep the services because of the Albuquerque residents who spend their weekend and money in Santa Fe. But she warns that commuters might not be so lucky in the near future.
"What's really scary is next year they're having a $5 million deficit because they're losing a federal grant," she tells SFR. "So how we're going to make that up is to be determined."
Wren Abbott contributed to this report.