Glitches create mixed reviews on first day of new commuter rail line

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  • Johnny Triumph American Fork, UT
    Dec. 12, 2012 12:45 p.m.

    Trains I passed this morning seems pretty empty, hopefully the older posters realize that most of the early riders were just along for the first rides.

  • anti-liar Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 3:06 p.m.

    Of course there will be first-day wrinkles to be worked out -- perfectly forgivable.

    Nor am I one of those who unreasonably complain that UTA is not self-sustaining. (Of course it isn't -- neither are the roads.)

    And the new train and railroad tracks are beautiful.

    Yet, sadly, UTA fails.

    See, a little time here, a little inconvenience there, an extra transfer, would be forgivable, by most -- IF the fares were more reasonable, to where UTA were the transportation bargain that public transportation is supposed to be AND IS in other places and countries. It is borderline offensive of the UTA to project ridership numbers with an obvious assumption that riders will gladly pay whatever fare is asked of them -- especially considering the veritable bonanza, salary-wise, enjoyed not just by the top executives, and John Inglish with his truly fantastic pension, but 100-150 more UTA personnel, as well.

    The UTA salary-fest needs to be brought to an end. Sure trax and front-runner are wonderful -- as raw materials. These need to be made affordable to more than just those riders whose companies or schools heavily subsidize or outright pay their exorbitantly expensive rider fares.

  • nairbnosral American Fork, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 2:21 p.m.

    Even with three delays yesterday and one delay today, my commute on FrontRunner was very pleasant. I got on at American Fork at 5:44 am and arrived at work in downtown at 6:30. With the express buses, I would get on at American Fork at 5:30 am and get to work at 6:30.

    So FrontRunner has trimmed 15 minutes from my commute.

    Good job UTA!!

  • Z South Jordan, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 12:08 p.m.

    @rfod28213, you nailed it. This was a massive project, and for the most part they got it right. I am not surprised at the 'first day' jitters, especially considering the changes to the rest of the system. I am withholding judgement for a week or two until all the parts have a chance to work together.

  • rford28213 Draper, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 11:55 a.m.

    Wow! What a bunch of Prima Donna's (for the most part)! I want perfection on the first day of a multi-million dollar heavy rail extension! How come UTA couldn't accurately predict the number of people who wanted a free ride (oh, sorry, had to bring a can of food) on Front Runner and I had to wait or stand up? Unbelievable! My understanding is that UTA is half a billion dollars and nearly a year ahead of schedule with their recent rail projects. Yes, that is half a billion with a "B" and a year ahead of schedule!! I work on North Temple near Redwood Road and North Temple and I am more able to drive, bike, and walk that street than ever before. I hope you are all willing to be judged in the same way you are judging UTA (again, for the most part). I think all including UTA wants improvement and I suspect it will come quickly. Let's at least wait for day 2 before passing judgement. Well done UTA!!

  • Poorly Planned, Poorly Managed Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 11:32 a.m.

    UTA was "practicing" for opening day for months and somehow found a way to mess it up...and then found a way to mess it up on day two.

    UTA has lost touch with their purpose and the riders. I imagine UTA just wishes us riders would quit riding because we get in the way of them taking fat salaries to play with trains and buses all day...

    We can give UTA credit for one good thing - they have provided a great topic for water cooler talk. I am sure employers appreciate receiving ticked-off employees each morning after they have just experienced the UTA daily disaster.

  • Glossy SYRACUSE, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 9:26 a.m.

    I am a Front Runner commuter and was very frustrated yesterday. The train got me to work about 20 minutes late and so I had to make up the 20 minutes at work. That caused me to miss the 2:00 p.m. train that I usually catch. I did not know yesterday that they changed the schedule so that the half hour trains were not running until 3:30. So I waited in 30 degree weather for nearly an hour for the next train to come. I board the train and a very strange person sits by me and soon starts asking for a handout. Very annoying. It took 11 hours to work six and a half. I will frequently have to work an extra half hour at work and will have to wait for an hour outside to catch the train. They have discontinued the express bus to Clearfield station from Salt Lake and so now UTA is becoming much harder for me to consider. Isn't there something better than this out there?

  • Sego Lilly Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 10, 2012 11:29 p.m.

    so I checked on line for the routes I would have to take if I chose to go to Provo. Well won't be going anytime soon as I will be FORCED to take front runner when it's way more expensive than what I am willing to spend. UTA NOT everyone can afford to take front runner even on a once a month trip. Lower the price because what you're charging to use it isn't worth it. You may as well just have a regular trax line going to Ogden and Provo and future points beyond

  • Why would I? Farmington, UT
    Dec. 10, 2012 11:03 p.m.

    I can't feel too sorry for the Highland residents who now must drive because they have a brand-new express highway from Alpine (I think) to Thanksgiving Point. It is the first of its kind in the State.

    Can anyone see why UTA and UDOT should be merged and eliminate competitive kingdom building and the lobbyists mentioned on KSL TV tonight should be turned away from the Legislature? A few fat cats have monopolized this whole UTA process to the detriment of the general citizen. I hope voters in UTAH will WAKE UP next election and throw out any incumbents that voted for this mess.

    And on top of that, we re-elected Gary Herbert. Go figure.........

  • LindonMan Lindon, UT
    Dec. 10, 2012 9:26 p.m.

    What a mess.

  • saltlakeman Sugar City, ID
    Dec. 10, 2012 9:20 p.m.

    Today was the first day of Front Runner and my last day using UTA. I have been a longtime supporter of public transportation, even making accessibility to bus routes a factor in buying homes, but UTA took away a good bus line, one that was so popular it was standing room only EVERY DAY, and replaced it with this abomination. I can either drive in and spend 90 minutes commuting, or, based on today's experience, take the bus in and spend four hours commuting. Thank you, UTA for putting more cars on the road. I hope enough people stop using your service that you wake up and realize that daily commuters are your primary customers. Alienate them, and your business model falls apart. By eliminating the 807, you have put at least 50 cars on the road. Good job!

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    Dec. 10, 2012 9:11 p.m.

    The Governor has spent over 2 billion dollars for Utah county's residents in his efforts to develop his county and develop more growth. That is a lot of money for Kane and Rich counties to dream about.

    Progress is one step forward and two steps backward, sometimes. The Governor didn't even have to worry about Rocky Anderson impeding the progress due to wetlands, ancient native American burial grounds or vital business rivalries.

    John Inglish made his monies also. Money won't buy everything and it doesn't make the bus routes come back that were given up for this move.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Dec. 10, 2012 8:11 p.m.

    p.s. I know commuters from Provo who normally spend about an hour on an express bus who spent 2:45 this morning to get to work! How long do you think they will put up with that kind of a commute?

    p.p.s. These trains are slow! They say they travel at 75+ MPH. All I can say is - Maybe for a mile or two. Most of the time the train is creeping along. There are too many stops between Provo and downtown. The trains accelerate slowly and decelerate slowly. My guess is that our average speed in each direction today was 30 MPH or so. And then we stopped every 5-7 miles all the way to downtown. How about some express trains? Many of these intermediate stops already have reasonably close access to TRAX.

    p.p.s. UTA did not start with defining customer needs first, then design a system to meet those needs. Instead, they thought up the assets they wanted, and then pushed the customers (and taxpayers!) towards these assets. Slow rail through the middle of the Salt Lake Valley is clearly not the answer.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Dec. 10, 2012 8:01 p.m.

    Trying to commute from Highland/Alpine/Cedar Hills via FrontRunner is a complete failure. The 807 route now winds through IM Flash and Adobe (not a single rider got on or off at these stops that I am aware of), adding significant time to the commute each way. What was previously about a 45 minute commute to downtown is now a minimum hour and 20 minute commute. This morning it was an hour and 45 minutes.

    Most of the previous 807 riders that I know are considering alternatives to UTA, and many have already committed to alternative transportation, putting more cars back onto I-15. Wasting an extra hour+ per day commuting is not worth the hassle when you can drive in 35 minutes. The new bus-to-train-to-bus route is neither efficient nor convenient, breaks up your ability to work on the way in, dumps you out into the weather twice, and is just plain slow.

    FrontRunner may be fine for the occasional ride from Provo to the airport, but it is not an alternative for many daily commuters. UTA - Please bring back the much more customer friendly express buses!

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Dec. 10, 2012 8:00 p.m.

    We were anxious to ride Front Runner. We brought our cans of food. We missed the first three trains because the line was so long. We got in the train and headed north and had seats but it was pretty full. Not sure what happened when anybody from any other stop wanted on because it seemed pretty full.

    Then we came home south to Provo. All I can say is that it was the closest thing to the Dr. Zhivago movie I could think of in modern times. No seats anywhere. People sitting on the floor, standing, crouching and even the stair way was chuck full of people. God forbid anybody had a heart attack or had to get off. Again, we made the stops but no room in the inn so to speak. Finally at Thanksgiving Point, AF and Orem people got off and people could sit down.

    I'm not sure if this "event" was planned out that well. I don't know how many front runners are in the fleet but hopefully none were sitting there not used. I guess people were excited about the experience but it wasn't all that "fun" to be honest.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    Dec. 10, 2012 7:37 p.m.

    Dec 8th was a mess, too. I remember the opening day of TRAX (free T-Shirts and bottled water with schedule hand-outs) and the opening day of FrontRunner North. Neither of those were close to the above-2 hour delays on Dec 8th in Provo and over an hour in Orem. Trains in SLC were full before letting on any new passengers.

    Plus, those of us who like to occasionally use FrontRunner North now have lousy service during selected parts of the day.

    Today I drove west on North Temple to the airport. The train tracks have literally ruined North Temple for automobiles....don't even try that bottle-neck.

    The more "progressive" UTA becomes the Worse Their Service and the harder it is to get around by train, bus or car. Hopefully they won't be building any more rail lines for a long time to come.

    The automobile just can't be beat for convenience, flexibility, personal comfort and privacy, not to mention you can actually go to Yellowstone, San Diego, Disneyland or unlimited other places (Grandma's for Thanksgiving) on your own schedule.

    UTA and their public transportation solutions-----No Thanks!

  • srw Riverton, UT
    Dec. 10, 2012 7:21 p.m.

    I rode FrontRunner today round trip between Draper and Orem. One negative: the return train arrived about 10-15 minutes late. Everything else was fine. The ride was smooth and relaxing and we zoomed past traffic on I-15, which was backed up because of a wreck. The wi-fi worked and it was amazingly fast. The view from the upper deck was grand. My bus connections were good in both directions.