A $5 bus ride for 23 cents

The sun metro chart we posted the other day covers up a real problem.

The chart shows that 13,766,000 passengers rode the buses in fiscal year 2017.

It also shows the cost per trip at $3.41.

Most of sun metro’s funding comes from sales taxes.  They get one half of a percent of a taxable sale which they projected to come to $ 43,824,530 for fiscal year 2017.    In 2017 they also expected to get $3,100,000 from riders.

The city’s 2018 budget states that the 2017 sun metro total budget was $69,846,055.

Predictably  they expected to spend every penny that they got.

So with 13,766,000 passengers and $69,846,055  in spending the cost per trip really is $5.07 not $3.41.

They will probably try to tell us that the $3.41 is the incremental cost of each trip, the other money is used to pay the out of town firm that runs sun metro and to pay for offices and other things.

At the end of the day though the cost per trip is $5.07.

With 13,766,000 riders and $3,100,000 in income from the riders we learn that on average each rider is paying 22.5 cents.

Even after basically giving away their service they are losing customers.

Isn’t it time to rethink this situation?

If we need a bus service to help lower income people, can’t we deliver the service more efficiently?

We deserve better



7 Responses to A $5 bus ride for 23 cents

  1. Old Fart says:

    Brutus, thanks for this helpful Sun Metro detail, something El Paso’s print media apparently is uninterested in and fails to report on.

    At one time didn’t a local paper like to say “government works best in the sun light?” So Brutus, thanks for taking time to shed light on an area of local government our local newspapers are too lazy to report on!


  2. Helen Marshall says:

    Other cities do not think of their bus service as just a benefit for low income folks, i.e. people who can’t afford a car and so “have” to take the bus. Maybe that’s why the El Paso system does not offer any night-time service, as housekeepers and gardeners do not work at night?


  3. Haiduc says:

    So why do we have the big Brio Bus???


  4. Gnossos says:

    The trolleys will operate at a very significant loss also. There is no way that fares can possibly cover the costs of operation and maintenance of the trolleys. But there have not been any predictions of what the costs will be and what the annual subsidy will be for taxpayers. It is high time that we tax payers demanded to know these answers. Tucson constructed an almost identical trolley system from their downtown to their University campus just three years ago and citizens there were shocked when that city finally announced publically what the annual operating cost was going to be and how fares did not come close to paying for the operations. I believe our city is deliberately withholding this information from us until well after the trolleys start operating…just like Tucson did. We will see a big celebration of the trolleys by the mayor and council members when they start operating and still our city officials will withhold the bad news for tax payers – probably for an additional year at least. We deserve better!


  5. The Oracle says:

    The El Paso Times KNOWS that not very many people read the Times. . . (and less each week) . . . so why bother putting any REAL news out there.
    It will not make any difference.
    (Almost like commenting on facebook or news stories. It will NOT change a thing.)

    I suppose the average/ majority/ age of Times subscribers is 60-70 year old and maybe they read it. . . and then do nothing but eat their cereal, toast and coffee.
    Might as well not even bother to publish any REAL news.
    As more and more in El Paso refuse to use English, the paper will diminish to . . . nothing.

    Many places that used to have an El Paso Times vending machine/ rack/ the machines are replaced by the machine from El Dario newspaper in Spanish. The Post Office on the east side. . .only has a machine for Spanish newspapers I see now.

    The poor, or “budget conscious” / (not subscribed to cable or satellite) Regular/ old-fashioned set-antenna/ TV’s only receive a Univision Spanish TV station.

    The bus lines and trolley don’t amount to much as they don’t CONNECT with anything and don’t run at night.

    In Japan, ALL airports have a train or tram or monorail, across the street, CONNECTING all other airports and cities and downtowns. One continuous flow to make it work. That’s HOW public transportation is suppose to work.

    You can’t use a public transportation system if it shuts off and you can’t get home at night or does not run early enough in the morning to get to downtown jury duty. (Takes 2 buses )


    • Helen Marshall says:

      Am surprised by your comment that more and more in El Paso “refuse to use English.” I speak Spanish and my efforts to speak it during daily life are usually met with a puzzled look and a reply in English…and a large part of the Spanish-speaking population here cannot read Spanish, and so don’t buy El Diario, which has a low circulation here and is mostly just the Juarez paper with an El Paso wrap…listening to Spanish-language TV is quite different.


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