By Nick Stern, Copy Editor
The Albuquerque Trolley Company has taken on the responsibility of being the first tourist attraction that many visitors see or participate when they arrive in the city of Albuquerque, said Jesse Herron, Co-owner of the Albuquerque Trolley Company.
The Trolley Company gives everyone in the community and tourists a chance to see the different and interesting locations and activities that Albuquerque has hidden throughout the city, which helps people to get a general understanding of the city’s layout by touring the Best of Albuquerque City Tour, Herron said.
“It is a pretty big responsibility and we are kind of like the welcome wagon, so we feel like we are doing good for the city and we are representing Albuquerque as ambassadors,” Herron said.
The company has its box office location where tickets can also be purchased, located inside the Hotel Albuquerque in Old Town, at 800 Rio Grande Blvd. NW, he said.
All ticket prices for special tours, such as the (Breaking) Bad tour, the Albucreepy Halloween tour and Microbrew tours, are $40 to $65, with general admission city tour at $25 for adults and $15 for children 12 and under, Herron said.
The Albuquerque Trolley Company is co-owned by Jesse Herron and Mike Silva who said they run their company with pride and confidence, having chosen to reflect those feelings in the way that they market themselves.
“We realize that we are often a visitor’s first impression of Albuquerque. We market ourselves as the best first thing to do in Albuquerque, so we take it very seriously,” he said.
Jesse Herron said that ABQtrolley.com is the best place to get tickets beforehand and can also be used to get all the up-to-date times, dates and even newsletters that come out every couple of weeks for people who choose to sign up.
The city tours do a great job of giving people an understanding of what is where in Albuquerque and why it is interesting, Herron said.
The tours educate visitors about the city and have also taught many folks how much fun can actually be had which has led to people’s views switching from negative opinions to positive ones, Herron said.
“Hop on board with us for like an hour and a half for the City Tour and we will give you the lay of the land and a lot of times people are saying ‘wow, we had no idea there was so much to do here. We’re definitely going to spend more days here,’” he said.
Herron said he cannot keep track of how many visitors have altered their vacation plans to spend more time in Albuquerque, after going on one of the tours.
Herron also stressed the fact that the tours offered by the trolley company are by no means limited to tourists and visitors, He said.
Many locals have gone on the tour and were flabbergasted by how much there is to do in their city, which they considered boring before then, he said.
“A lot of people just assume that we are only for tourists and for visitors and that is definitely a misconception. We get locals who are not bringing visitors, they are just coming themselves because they want to learn more about Albuquerque and they are always afterwards like ‘ wow, we had no idea about all of this stuff in our own city,’” he said.
Many people believe that Albuquerque is a town with absolutely nothing to do and that Santa Fe is a better place to be, and this misconception is one of the reasons that motivated Herron and Silva to create the Albuquerque Trolley Company, Herron said.
Herron believes that people need to step outside of their limited perspectives towards the city, and that the tours give people a chance to do just that, Herron said.
“A lot of locals have this mentality that we are in the shadow of Santa Fe and there is nothing to do here and they just need to step outside of that perspective. That is partly the reason we started the company because we were tired of people badmouthing Albuquerque and saying there is nothing to do here,” Herron said.
There is a plethora of different tours that are offered by the trolley company, but the current season, which lasts from April to October, consists of the Best of Albuquerque City Tour, the Bad Tour, and the soon-to-be Bad Tour 2.0, he said.
The Bad Tour is literally the most popular tour the company has to offer and has been a huge success, Herron said.
“The demand for the Bad Tour is just ridiculous. Honestly nine out of 10 emails are about that tour and same with the phone calls. We are getting emails and phone calls from people in England and Germany— just all over the world, who are just trying to plan their vacation based around the Bad Tour dates, or whether or not they can get tickets,” Herron said.
Architectural and Engineering Drafting major Matthias Lopez, had been on the Bad Tour which he said is easily one of the best tours he has ever experienced and believes it to be the best attraction the city has to offer to tourists and locals alike, he said.
Lopez said the tour is much more than just a chance to take pictures of different locations from the show.
“The tour guides, who are also the owners of the trolley company, obviously put all their hearts into making the tours as interesting and enjoyable as possible, and it definitely shows,” he said.
Lopez said that during the tour, when guides were not sharing their immense knowledge of the show, they were either holding trivia contests with prizes or directing the attention to the television screens that showed behind-the-scenes Breaking Bad footage, which Lopez had never even seen before.
Herron said he has a background in hospitality and tourism and eventually reconnected with the idea that Albuquerque is missing the one thing that most big cities had— an actual city tour.
“We were both there for a couple years and we met there and then we kind of reconnected back in 2007 and were tired of working for the man so to speak, and wanted to do our own thing. One of the things that were kind of missing from the Albuquerque visitor experience was a city tour which most major cities have,” Herron said.
For more information on the Albuquerque Trolley Company, or its tours go to abqtrolley.com.