File photo courtesy Sun Metro – taken in late 2019
Wednesday morning, Sun Metro officials announced that to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and encourage the community to stay home, Sun Metro will temporarily suspend operations including LIFT services on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 2020, and on all Sundays starting December 6, 2020.
“While we recognize the importance of public transit this service change is necessary to aid in our community’s struggle to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Traditionally, our holiday service runs on a Sunday schedule due to the limited ridership on that day but this year we are going a step further to do our part to protect the health and welfare of our riders, employees and the general public,” Sun Metro Managing Director Ellen Smyth said.
According to officials, in 2019, a total of 3,917 riders used the service on the holiday, a decrease 34 percent compared to the 5,935 riders in 2018.
“The demand for ridership this year was expected to decline further due to major retailers and restaurants closing to observe the holiday, border crossing restrictions, the annual Thanksgiving parade going virtual, and health official discouraging large gatherings,” transit officials added.
Ridership counts show that on average fewer 5,000 people use the services on Sundays.
Sun Metro recognizes these service changes will impact some customers. However, it should assist El Paso in the fight against the virus by:
- Eliminating public interactions at transit centers
- Decreasing contact between operators/passengers
- Discouraging large gatherings