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Sun Metro halfway complete with first phase of new transit system
By Crystal Price
EL PASO, Texas -- Sun Metro has halfway completed the first phase of the new Rapid Transit System, also known as Sun Metro Brio.
The new system will consist of brand-new 60-foot buses with a higher capacity.
Sun Metro is building 22 new bus stations where passengers can pay their fare before they get on the bus.
The new stations will be a mile apart and buses will stop more frequently for pickup.
According to Sun Metro, people ride the buses 17 million times every year, and that number goes up an average of 5 percent each year.
As the number of commuters goes up, the Rapid Transit System will help the growing group of commuters get around faster, Sun Metro said.
"We're divided by a mountain and also by Fort Bliss, and it's kind of hard for us to provide service throughout the community as fast as possible," said Laura Cruz-Acosta, with Sun Metro. "This is one way of doing it faster."
Cruz-Acosta said this is the first of four corridors, and the primary purpose is to move the community a little bit faster.
In the meantime, multiple streets including Mesa, Oregon and Franklin -- will have either one or two lane closures as Sun Metro completes the first phase of the project.
"We want to make sure that each of the stops is able to support the weight of the bus, so we're pouring concrete into the ground instead of asphalt in order to take the weight of the bus," Cruz-Acosta said.
Some daily Sun Metro commuters are excited about the new Rapid Transit System.
Justin Cameron, a West El Paso resident, rides the bus every day.
"Most of the time I'm usually just going to work or the library," Cameron said.
Cameron admits that sometimes it can take a huge chunk out of his day.
"If there's like heavy traffic or typical transportation issues," Cameron said.
But Cameron said he can't wait to see the changes the new bus system will bring to the city.
"There will be new routes, more buses - it will improve the wait times," Cameron said.
Cruz-Acosta said the project will be completed no later than this summer.
Below is a list of the most recent construction closures to be aware of:
Beginning the week of Feb. 17, 2014
Mesita outbound (northbound on Mesa at Mesita/Sun Bowl)
Festival outbound (northbound on Mesa at Festival)
Beginning the week of Feb. 24, 2014:
Resler inbound (southbound on Mesa at Resler)
ONGOING AND COMPLETED CONSTRUCTION
Construction on Phase 1 of 2 for the following four stations is ongoing:
Mesita inbound (southbound on Mesa at Mesita/Sun Bowl)
Executive outbound (northbound on Mesa at Executive)
Rio Grande outbound (northbound on Oregon at Rio Grande)
Camille inbound (southbound on Mesa at Camille)
Festival inbound (southbound on Mesa at Festival)
Construction on Phase 1 of 2 for the following 11 stations has been completed:
Franklin inbound (westbound on Franklin at Santa Fe)
Franklin outbound (eastbound on Franklin at N. El Paso Street)
Rio Grande inbound (southbound on Oregon at Rio Grande)
Hague inbound (southbound on Oregon at Hague)
Hague outbound (northbound on Oregon at Hague)
Glory Road inbound (southbound on Oregon at Glory Road)
Glory Road outbound (northbound on Oregon at Glory Road)
Montecillo inbound (southbound on Mesa at Montecillo)
Argonaut outbound (northbound on Mesa at Argonaut)
Balboa inbound (southbound on Mesa at Balboa)