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Sun Metro Launches Brio Rapid Transit Service

Sun Metro in El Paso, TX, is already reporting daily ridership of between 1,800 and 2,000 since the introduction of service on Brio, its new rapid transit system, which the agency kicked off at the end of October with a launch party. State, local, and national representatives attended the ceremonies.

The Mesa Street corridor, the first of four Brio routes, features 22 stations located about a mile apart. Construction on the line also included landscaping at each of the stops, along with ongoing work to improve the pedestrian experience along the corridor.

“We have dedicated nearly six years to analyzing, designing, and building what we believe will revolutionize public transportation in our community,” said Sun Metro Director Jay Banasiak. “Mesa Brio is just the beginning of what’s to come for El Paso. Our ongoing objective is ­provide a first-class transportation system that moves our family, friends, and neighbors to get to work, to school, to visit each other and back. It is also a system that supports our economic development, reduces our traffic congestion, and helps improve our community’s air quality.”

In a statement, FTA Acting Administrator Therese ­McMillan said, “We are proud to be a partner in bringing this bus rapid transit line to El Paso to connect residents with employment, education, and economic opportunities in the Mesa Street corridor, and improve transportation options for the region. This is the kind of project we’d like to see more of.”

Brio operates with 10 low floor, 60-foot articulated vehicles from New Flyer, powered by compressed natural gas. Amenities include three doors for faster boarding, free Wi-Fi, two TV monitors for passenger information, three interior bicycle racks, two wheelchair positions, and signal prioritization at traffic lights. Portions of the route operate in dedicated lanes.

Each of the Brio stations is distinctly branded and offers shade screens, free Wi-Fi, landscaping, a real-time arrival sign, a 17-foot-high pylon, benches, bike racks, a solar-powered trash compactor, and a ticket vending machine to allow for an improved and faster fare collection process.

The total project cost for Mesa Brio is $27.1 million, including $13.5 million from FTA, $6.1 million from Texas DOT, and $7.5 million in local funds.



Crowds fill the platform on opening day for Mesa Brio service.

Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-TX) disembarks from the inaugural ride of Brio rapid transit in El Paso, TX.

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