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Sun Metro ridership on the rise

By Crystal Price
EL PASO, Texas -- As more and more El Pasoans take the bus, public transit ridership numbers in the Borderland have climbed.

According to Sun Metro, El Pasoans made 17 million trips by bus last year.

That is a significant jump from the 12 million trips made in 2007.

Nationwide, Americans took public transit 10.7 billion times last year - the most trips we've made since 1956.

Sun Metro attributes the rise in ridership in the Borderland to a number of different factors.

"For the most part, we would probably attribute a lot of that increase to the improvements that we've made in terms of the service we're providing," said Laura Cruz-Acosta, public affairs coordinator for Sun Metro.

For instance, Sun Metro has built several new bus terminals in recent years, which include the Downtown Transfer Center and the Glory Road Transfer Center.

Cruz-Acosta also added new amenities, such as free Wi-Fi, are something that appeals to young adults -- one of the fastest growing demographics turning to public transit.

"There is slowly an increase in terms of passengers who have a vehicle but are choosing the option of riding the bus who are a little bit greener," Cruz-Acosta said. "They want to live a car-light life."

Omar Guerrero, a University of Texas-El Paso student, said he takes the bus every day to go to class.

"My way of getting around town when I don't have my mom's car is by bus," Guerro said.

Guerrero said he has noticed more young people taking the bus he takes on a daily basis.

"I pay $30 for a student monthly pass, it saves on gas, and I can go out on the weekends a little bit more," Guerrero said.

Guerrero said he takes the bus for the low cost and for the perks that come with not having to drive.

"I can take the 6:30 a.m., catch some ZZZs and then get here and I'll be good," Guerrero said. "It's easy transportation."

For more information on the transit services Sun Metro provides, go to their sunmetro.net.