UTA scales back off-peak FrontRunner service on north line to accommodate south line opening

Published: Friday, Dec. 7 2012 4:20 p.m. MST

Members of the media get off FrontRunner at the Provo station Friday, Nov. 30, 2012. The media rode the train from Salt Lake City to Provo. Regular service begins Monday, Dec. 10, 2012.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The commuter-rail line between Salt Lake City and Provo will open Monday, and that will cause some departure times between Ogden and Salt Lake to double.

Now that the new FrontRunner south line is finished, trains that used to stop in Salt Lake City and go back to Ogden will now continue on to Provo. It's a change that is upsetting some people.

Every 30 minutes, UTA trains arrive in Salt Lake City from the north, but with FrontRunner's south line opening Monday, that 30 minutes is only going to be during the morning and afternoon commutes.

During off-peak hours, the wait between trains will be an hour.

"If they're going to be doing that, it'll probably force me to drive rather than take the train," said Woods Cross resident Kelvin Foutz, an off-peak FrontRunner rider.

UTA officials say they can't keep trains going to Ogden every 30 minutes during off-peak times.

"For those who have been used to getting a train every half-hour heading north, they've been a little bit spoiled because we had to do that as part of our operations," UTA spokesman Gerry Carpenter said.

The agency doesn't have the budget or rail capacity to add more trains, Carpenter said.

"There are growing pains," he said. "We have doubled the size of our commuter-rail system."

For riders of the north FrontRunner line during off-peak hours, it means a new schedule and being on time or having to wait another hour.

"We have like 30 or 50 seconds to get on and off before it heads to Ogden, so it's pretty crazy," Ogden resident Kenneth Durbin said as he got off a TRAX train and ran to FrontRunner.

The off-peak hour wait between trains is also in effect for riders of the FrontRunner South line. However, their service starts next week so those commuters have never become accustomed to 30-minute, off-peak wait times.

E-mail: acabrero@ksl.com

Twitter: ksl_alexcabrero

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