Since our inception eight years ago, the New Mexico Rail Runner Express has worked to build relationships with organizations in our community that focus on safety, education, health and volunteerism. Many of these relationships have turned in to long-term partnerships, with Rail Runner staff serving on committees and becoming involved with community outreach and volunteer efforts. Just this past year, Rail Runner staff has been involved with a book drive, community events, safety outreach and more.
For the past eight years, New Mexico Rail Runner Express staff has participated in this annual book drive for children in the Albuquerque area. In 2014 more than 50,000 books were collected and distributed to children in local elementary schools.
From the beginning, the New Mexico Rail Runner Express has focused on providing our community with information about public transportation, including how to use it, benefits, safety, environmental impact, and more. Throughout the year we provide information tables at workplaces, schools and community events. Some of the major New Mexico employers and educators that we work with on an annual basis include Kirtland Air Force Base, Sandia National Laboratories, UNM, UNM Hospitals, PIMA Medical Institute, Sandoval County, and the Village of Los Lunas.
The Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) is an initiative of the City of Albuquerque that connects people age 55 and older to more than 220 public and nonprofit agencies including schools, hospitals, museums, senior centers, frail elderly programs, homeless facilities, child abuse and neglect shelters and more. New Mexico Rail Runner Express staff has supported the program for the past eight years by providing board members, sitting on volunteer selection committees and helping to organize their annual volunteer awards banquet. This is one way that we reach out to the community and show people how to use public transportation.
The New Mexico Rail Runner Express has always focused on educating the public about being safe around the tracks. We have offered many safety presentations to area schools since we began operating. One recent example is from May 2014. The New Mexico Rail Runner Express worked with the Algodones and San Felipe Pueblo Elementary Schools to bring safety presentations to every classroom in both schools. Our safety presentations are interactive and fun for kids, while also being educational. Trax, the new Rail Runner Mascot which was developed to help with rail safety education, has also been making appearances at programs for children.
For the past few years, the Rio Metro Regional Transit District has worked with the City of Albuquerque to mentor students in their job mentorship program. This involves staff spending an entire day with 5-7 students, interacting with them in our office and talking with them about job skills, job prep, training, career and post-secondary education, and more.
In 2014, the New Mexico Rail Runner Express worked with Costco, one of our Smart Business Partners, to participate in the annual Costco Children’s Miracle Network event. You may have seen a Rail Runner banner hanging at the Costco on Eubank in Albuquerque this May.
The New Mexico Rail Runner Express has partnered with the New Mexico Law Enforcement Memorial Ride each May for the past two years. The ride, which benefits the APD Chaplain Unit Fund, pays tribute to New Mexico’s officers who have died in the line of duty. Participants ride north 100 Kilometers from Albuquerque to Santa Fe. After lunch they receive a complimentary ride with their bicycle back to Albuquerque courtesy of the New Mexico Rail Runner Express.
We developed a new partnership in 2014 with the hospitality industry. Each year the Greater Albuquerque Innkeepers Association hosts the Hospitality Games, a friendly competition between local hotels. This year, the New Mexico Rail Runner Express sponsored the games and provided judges for the competition. Proceeds from the games go towards a scholarship fund for students who are interested in pursuing a college education in the field of hospitality. Through this event, we were able to educate hundreds of front line hotel employees about the benefits of the New Mexico Rail Runner Express and public transportation that they can pass on to their hotel guests.