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New Sun Metro facility to make way for more projects

Updated: Wednesday, February 5 2014, 01:22 PM MST
New Sun Metro facility to make way for more projects story image

By: Stacey Welsh
EL PASO, Texas -- Sun Metro has more than $100 million worth of new projects and improvements in the works, and the bus service's new east El Paso facility could go a long way to making them happen.

The new Transit Operation Center on Montana Avenue is expected to open in March or April. It will house nearly all of Sun Metro's buses and operations besides about 30 buses that will remain at the downtown facility.

"We'll have our operations and administrative center there. We'll have a maintenance center there. We'll have a fueling facility there. We'll have our washers there, so everything we need will be on that site," Sun Metro Director Jay Banasiak said.

Banasiak said the new facility alone costs about $40 million, and could hold about 200 buses eventually.

It is also set to hold larger buses that Sun Metro plans to roll out for its new Rapid Transit System projects.

"We have van buses. We have 35-foot buses. We have 40-foot buses, and when we get the new buses for the rapid transit system, that will be a 60-foot bus, we'll be able to house that too," Banasiak said.

Banasiak said Sun Metro's first Rapid Transit System is expected to open at the end of the summer to provide a faster route through downtown.

"We'll have stops about every mile from the Downtown Transit Center, which is pretty much downtown all the way to our west side transit center near Remcon Circle and Mesa Street," Banasiak said.

"It's more convenient to park and get the bus. Then you won't have trouble finding parking downtown," east El Paso resident Ruby Serrano said.

Sun Metro is also planning similar projects on Alameda Avenue, Montana Avenue and Dyer Street in the next few years.

Another project Sun Metro riders could see this year is adding new shelters to bus stops across the city.

Banasiak said there are about 2,800 bus stops, and about 300 would see new shelters under Sun Metro's improvements.

"It would be nice in case of weather, like rain and snow. Also because of the shade when we get into hot weather," Serrano said.

Banasiak also said Sun Metro has seen about a 25 percent increase in riders over the past five years.

New Sun Metro facility to make way for more projects
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