New data from national think tank Brookings Institution confirms El Paso has made a positive turnaround in public transportation.
In 2005, Sun Metro was in danger of a "meltdown," according to local officials. And the public loudly agreed. The new findings show El Paso ranked No. 19 in the nation based on analysis of bus routes and schedules. Some 371 transit systems were studied in the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas.
Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program data show El Paso far exceeds the average percentage of people who live near a transit stop -- 94 percent to the average 69 percent.
El Paso is in the middle when it comes to accessing work via a transit system. The national average is 30 percent. El Paso is at 29 percent.
Perhaps plans already in the works will increase El Pasoans' access from home to the workplace: more modern buses, new transit stations with amenities and the up-and-coming Bus Rapid Transit System. We've come a long way since the bus showed up late, and then riders found out the heating or air-conditioning was on the fritz, too.
New bus transit stations are operational at the Downtown bridges, on the West Side at UTEP and Remcon Circle, and in the Lower Valley. Stations are planned in Northeast on Dyer and in East El Paso on Montana.
The Bus Rapid Transit System is set for main arteries Mesa, Dyer, Alameda and Montana. The special buses will be able to manipulate traffic signals in order to reach destinations faster.
Sun Metro is much more reliable than 2005, offers a wider schedule of rides, and service should be even faster with BRT. Having reached No. 19 in the nation is a great achievement.
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