UTA adds more trains, makes other changes to commuter rail schedule

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 5 2013 3:20 p.m. MST

A FrontRunner train arrives in Salt Lake City from Provo, Dec. 10, 2012.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Riders on commuter rail will see some changes to their travel schedule this month.

The Utah Transit Authority announced Tuesday that implementation of adjusted FrontRunner and bus schedules will begin Feb. 19.

The changes come in the wake of extended FrontRunner service between Provo and Salt Lake City, which presented some challenges for riders trying to make connections with buses along the route, said UTA spokesman Gerry Carpenter. Service between Salt Lake City and Ogden had already been established with connection schedules on the northern route of the commuter rail line working reasonably well, but problems arose after UTA officially launched FrontRunner South between downtown Salt Lake City and Provo in December.

The agency heralded the new $850 million commuter rail line as a better, more efficient alternative to driving. But numerous delays and extended commutes resulted in less-than-stellar reviews by some riders. In response, the agency is revamping the schedules — mostly in Salt Lake and Utah counties — to improve overall system reliability, Carpenter explained.

“When we started FrontRunner South in December, we struggled to meet the printed schedule,” he said. “It was too tight.”

After criticism from riders and community input, UTA developed a new timetable for its commuter rail line and connecting buses. Carpenter said the new schedule will add a bit more time to individual commutes, but should alleviate the timing issues and delays that have plagued the system for several weeks.

“It will give a little more room to allow passengers to board and de-board,” he said. “It also builds in some recovery time if there are any delays.”

The new schedule will add nine minutes to the one-way trip from the downtown Salt Lake Central station to Provo and 11 minutes on the FrontRunner North route from downtown to Ogden. Bus routes have also been adjusted accordingly to make connections more convenient for passengers, he said.

UTA will also add more departures throughout the day and extend peak commuting times by two to three hours to accommodate increased passenger travel.

“During peak time, trains operate every 30 minutes, while during off-peak, trains operate once an hour,” Carpenter said. About $3 million in operating revenue was put into the schedule adjustment, he noted.

Long-term, the changes should provide a better commuting experience for all FrontRunner riders, he said.

“We added more trains, there are more full-length trips and expanded the peak commute times — morning and afternoon — in both directions,” Carpenter said.

Old schedule 

Provo to Ogden: 1 hour 49 minutes

Provo to Salt Lake Central: 58 minutes

Ogden to Provo: 1 hour 47 minutes

Ogden to Salt Lake Central: 51 minutes

New schedule

Provo to Ogden: 2 hours 4 minutes

Provo to Salt Lake Central: 1 hour 7 minutes

Ogden to Provo: 2 hours 3 minutes

Ogden to Salt Lake Central: 1 hour 2 minutes

Schedule adjustments

The bus routes that will have schedule adjustments include:

Salt Lake County

2, 2X, 3, 6, 9, 11, 200, 201, 205, 209, 218, 220, 500, 513, 516, 517, 520, 523, 534, 550, F526

Weber and Davis counties

455, 603, 604, 612, 613, 616, 630, 640, F618

Utah County

805, 806, 807, 809, 821, 830, 831, 832, 833, 834, 836, 842, 850, 853, F868

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