Commuters give UTA changes mixed reviews

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  • Future Looks Bright
    Aug. 26, 2009 7:48 p.m.

    UTA used to force all University students to transfer at Gallivan (7,000 plus). Now they have a direct train.

    Shifting the trains and operators to allow this direct service instead forces Sandy passengers going to Salt Lake Central to transfer (300 plus).

    If you look at those numbers, UTA's move makes sense. However, Sandy passengers, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The Blue Line (Sandy-Salt Lake) will resume running to Salt Lake Central once all the new TRAX lines are built (UTA will have more equipment and operators). With trains every 5 minutes on each track at Arena, it will no longer be able to be used as a terminal station.

    And before then (in 2013), FrontRunner's Murray Central station will open - a cross platform transfer withoug the delays of going through downtown.

    Change is rough, but when all is said and done, everyone's rail service will be better. There will be more trains more often, and more direct connections.

  • RichardD
    Aug. 25, 2009 5:29 p.m.

    UTA could run a shuttle service from the arena to the end of the line. Have two vehicles dedicated to this section and have them get a move on. Get off your service onto the waiting shuttle. Quiet times run only one shuttle.

  • Aerick
    Aug. 24, 2009 10:13 a.m.

    Well, it took me 10 minutes longer to get to work today, the train from Sandy to Downtown was much more crowded than usual, and the train that I transferred to from Arena to Gateway had much less people than the original Sandy to Gateway train.

    UTA's new motto:

    "Non-University Students: TRAX now takes longer, is less convenient and less pleasant! Buy your full-fare pass now!"

    If this change remains constant, as does my employment until I retire, TRAX will have cost me 86 days of my life just for the extra 20 minutes I have to waste each day. AWESOME!!!!

  • UTA made right decision
    Aug. 24, 2009 1:23 a.m.

    The comments about missing FrontRunner due to TRAX having trains that run to Salt Lake Central every 15 minutes instead of every 7 to 8 minutes surprises me.

    FrontRunner runs every 30 minutes (every 60 minutes after 7 pm). TRAX running every 15 minutes is at Salt Lake Central 2 to 4 times as often as FrontRunner. AND, there is a guaranteed transfer from the University Train to FrontRunner (and vice versa).

    As long as you are on the TRAX train scheduled to arrive before FrontRunner's departure, you will make the connection.

    If you have ever seen the trains running between Arena and Salt Lake Central, I think you would agree that UTA has made the right choice. One train every 15 minutes is more than adequate for the current passenger volume. Taking the excess capacity and shifting that to create more direct service between the University of Utah and Sandy was a very smart move on UTA's part.

  • Changes benefit Majority
    Aug. 24, 2009 1:17 a.m.

    For the vast majority of riders, the changes in TRAX service will be a great benefit to them. More direct service from Sandy to the University of Utah has been needed for a long time.

    As for those going to FrontRunner from Sandy, yes, there is a 10 minute transfer from the Sandy Train to a University Train at Arena. However FrontRunner's schedule has had 6 minutes shaved off - so while it is inconvenient, it is only a 4 minute net addition in time. And eventually (by 2013), there will be a cross-platform transfer at Murray Central from TRAX to FrontRunner which will make that commute way shorter.

    As for those transfering from FrontRunner to TRAX, there is a guaranteed transfer (certain trains will hold for each other). So as long as you read the schedule and plan to be on the connecting train you'll be taken care of. Also there is the new "2 to the U" UTA bus from SL Central to the U - and it is faster than TRAX.

    Overall these changes will benefit the vast majority of riders.

    KUDOS to UTA!

  • Anonymous
    Aug. 23, 2009 3:51 p.m.

    1. How about seeing the changes and THEN reviewing them? When you write the review first, it ca't possibly be fair.

    2. You can tell whether a train is going to end at arena or not by looking at the name on the front. If it says "ARENA" or maybe "DELTA CENTER" then it won't go past that point. Will it kill you to get off at Arena and switch trains? Most people going to the U of U have had to do that for some time now, and none of them died from exhaustion during the wait.

    3. Oh you poor puppy that has to have personal service every 7.5 minutes! Why not just condemn the whole system because you can't have a train every 5 minutes?

    I never such a bunch of whiners in my life.

    I do not work for UTA, never have, and don't plan to. I just don't think the whole system should have been designed for my personal convenience. I recognize that there are many thousands of other riders, and that they count too. Grow up!

  • Anonymous
    Aug. 21, 2009 3:42 p.m.

    "UTA spells disaster | 8:36 a.m. Aug. 21, 2009
    Why well now the only trax to the front runner is the university so that means 1 trax every 15 minutes! befor a trax would go every 7.5 minutes making it easy to shop gateway and get back to frontrunner now miss just 1 trax and you miss the train! Stupidity at UTA! The ridership in the drop again after this not well thought out change!!!!!!!!!"

    If you miss the Trax from the Gateway to Frontrunner, pick up your little feet and walk! It's only a few blocks - you can do it!

  • Mike W
    Aug. 21, 2009 3:16 p.m.

    Count me in as another who won't be using TRAX anymore... on the bright side, the busses tend to smell a little better...

  • Henry Drummond
    Aug. 21, 2009 1:39 p.m.

    I take TRAX to the "U" all the time. With the new schedule there will be a train every half hour from Sandy line. Its fine with me.

  • Ex-TRAX rider
    Aug. 21, 2009 1:16 p.m.

    UTA, do you go out of your way to annoy your ridership? Do you have meetings at which you speculate on how to inconvenience the most passengers?

    It sure feels like you do.

    You've changed my commute from one bus + one TRAX ride to one bus + two TRAX rides.

    When I garaged my car and started riding UTA to and from work I told myself that the extra hour per day spent with buses & trains vs. my car would be OK, that I'd get used to it.

    Now you want me to spend closer to an extra 90 minutes each day vs. my car.

    I'm a healthy adult. The extra TRAX transfer is for me merely annoying. How about for people in wheelchairs, or with strollers, or traveling with little kids?

    August will be my last monthly pass purchase.

  • Skitarghee
    Aug. 21, 2009 1:11 p.m.

    Give the system to the union/employees and see if they can get more than one rider per bus mile. What a waste of money. UTA doesn't save energy. It is a sinkhole for taxpayer subsidies. I could buy a fleet of limos and run it for less than this money pit.

  • Sandy to University
    Aug. 21, 2009 12:43 p.m.

    When will the direct routes to Sandy to University start?

  • Convenient
    Aug. 21, 2009 12:28 p.m.

    Public transportation is supposed to be convenient. I stopped taking Trax when it was taking me over an hour to get to work at the U when it only takes me 20 minutes to drive.

    The direct routes to the University is a good change.

    The changes are a good improvement.

    Thank you.

  • UTA thought process
    Aug. 21, 2009 12:20 p.m.

    Uta ridership down = make it harder for people to get where they are going.

  • Klaus
    Aug. 21, 2009 12:06 p.m.

    You can by-pass the tap-on, tap-off on TRAX and probably Frontrunner, but on buses of any type you need to tap-on or pay the regular fare. There is no way around it. Maybe less than half the TRAX riders use the tap-on system, but the half does provided the data to support the change. If you ride Frontrunner and did not use the system, you can only blame yourself.
    In my 15 - 18 years of riding UTA, I have been negatively affected by the changes on numerous occasions(this is not one of them), but I always find a way around it. Overall, service is much better than when I started riding the bus. With the future plans it is only going to improve.
    For those who whine about employer sponsered passes, those are the employers who have the largest ridership. The per month, per rider rate is low, but the total amount is huge. That is what is keeping fares as low as they are. And yes, UTA does cater to the areas with the highest demand such as the university area (including VA and Research Park) as they should.

  • Thank you!!!
    Aug. 21, 2009 12:00 p.m.

    I, along with many other riders to the University, got fed up with the hour it takes to commute when it only takes 20 minutes to drive to the U. Hopefully they continue to add more rail cars as well.

    This is a very welcome change. Having lived in big cities such as San Francisco, DC, and New York it's good to see Utah's transit system improve more and more.

  • Unhappy rider
    Aug. 21, 2009 11:57 a.m.

    UTA also doesn't think through their busses well. There are several areas where there are only 2 routes that run every 30 minutes, and do similar routes. Instead of offsetting them by 15 minutes, they have them 2 minutes apart going to the same place.

  • Aerick
    Aug. 21, 2009 11:57 a.m.

    Just got confirmation from a UTA representative (who was very helpful, I might add), that they didn't base their ridership counts on the "tap-on/tap-off" system, but rather using the observations of UTA employees who also ride/service the routes throughout the course of the day.

    Not a perfect method, to be sure, but at least one that I can understand.

    While I'm still not happy about the changes, I can at least understand why they were made. I can't help but think, however, how this would have happened different if UTA wasn't a subsidized business. Would a private company make changes to benefit cheap or zero fare patrons at the expense of those paying full fares or more fares? Doubt it. Ahh Socialism! :)

  • Re: Cancel the free passes
    Aug. 21, 2009 11:33 a.m.

    Students do not get "free" passes from UTA. Every student pay for them in student fees. Even if a student does not use the pass they still pay the same UTA student fee.

  • Aerick
    Aug. 21, 2009 11:28 a.m.

    To: Back to class, student

    I completely agree with your assesment. My observation about the "tap-on, tap-off" system is that less than half of the riders use this method. Certainly not substantial enough to use in a ridership study! Of course, that's assuming this information was used in the study, and assuming again that any kind of study was actually conducted (which I believe it was).

    This change makes the transit system more friendly for the non-paying customers at the expense of the paying customers. Seems backwards. Even though I don't ride FrontRunner, I hope it doesn't fail now as a result of these changes.

  • Hatuletoh
    Aug. 21, 2009 11:26 a.m.

    You know what I love best about Trax? Ridin' for free. I never buy a ticket for that thing because I so enjoy the cat-and-mouse of ducking the transit cops on their Segeway scooters.

    I just wish they'd put more transit cops on the trains to make things more interesting. The great majority of the time there isn't even a cop on board to check the tickets, and I have to make due with lesser amusements, like standing too close to people and talking to myself and gov'mint conspeerassees, or staring at a guy in a suit without blinking while slowly squirting ketchup packets into my mouth. So the next time you see a well-dressed gentleman staring you down, don't worry: that's just me making my morning commute a little more entertaining.

  • quit UTA
    Aug. 21, 2009 11:11 a.m.

    The best solution to all these problems is to dismantle the UTA and encourage people to be self-reliant in their transportation. Spend those billions of dollars on fixing and improving the highway system and we'll all be better off.

  • Anonymous
    Aug. 21, 2009 10:54 a.m.

    Change is always hard, no matter when or where it occurs. Public transportation is not meant to be the fastest way to get someplace. It is meant as an alternative means to help the environment and to give those who don't have use of a vehicle, a way to get places. I am happy about the change this time around. Because the Sandy/University line ran only a few times a day so I had to ride trax from Sandy to the Galivan station and then transfer to a University line train or take a bus to get to work on 600 East. When Frontrunner came into the picture, UTA changed all the bus and Trax schedules to accomodate Frontrunner. That added 15 minutes to my commute because the bus I needed to catch came 2 minutes before trax would make it to Galivan so I had to wait 15 to 20 for the next one. Prior to Frontrunner, my bus was there 3 minutes after Trax arrived. Now with the Sandy/Univ line running every 30 minutes, I can adjust my schedule so that I don't have to transfer to a bus or another train.

  • Mr. Moody, UTA sympathizers
    Aug. 21, 2009 10:42 a.m.

    For those of you still buying into Inglish's madness, enjoy those standing-room-only two-car University lines getting you transferred to points north on heavy rail. Or that extra bus line. Nice concession.

    If you ever make it back on FrontRunner, I'll be tooling along on Legacy or I-15, waving at you in my newly dusted off SUV, which hasn't been on the commuting freeways in months, until now, spouting all sorts of enviro-mean emissions.

    And, oh by the way, I tried calling the so-called customer service lines. They were not helpful, would not listen to my points of view and were more than a bit obtuse.

    Happy trails!

  • Back to class, student
    Aug. 21, 2009 10:36 a.m.

    You said: "Direct train routes were too sparse. Hoping for such an adjustment, I've been sure to use the "tap on - tap off" tracking system. I'm very pleased to have an efficient public transportation system."

    Solid logic there. Site me some stats showing even a majority of riders use the card reader tap system, and that it's an effective way to track ridership. I ride pub transit at least 4 times a week. It's my observation that barely half of riders, on Express, regular bus, TRAX and FrontRunner use this service.

    Even if there was a slight majority, tell me how that justifies the dolts at UTA to significantly modify (not improve, as they tout) the routes and time changes of FrontRunner-to-TRAX connection riders?

    I just can't understand the need they had to cut the TRAX lines going to SL Central station. Was it really that hard to look at a map, understand that Sandy TRAX trains leaving the Hub HAD to go through downtown to get south? I guess so. LAME.

  • Zadruga Guy
    Aug. 21, 2009 10:31 a.m.

    I work in Provo and live in West Jordan. Starting Monday, I am going to start taking the bus to work. In the past, it took far too long to ride the bus to work (vs driving) but UTA has increased the morning frequency on the buses from Sandy to Utah County, so that I will no longer have the long layovers that used to occur. So from my point of view, the changes are good.

    Regarding transferring from Sandy Trax to University Trax to get to Salt Lake Central -- often, what would work better than changing trains at the arena station is to get off at Gallivan Plaza and then ride the new Route 2 west from there to Salt Lake Central Station.

  • Cancel the free passes
    Aug. 21, 2009 10:24 a.m.

    Most UTA riders get their pass for free from their employer or from school. Those employers and schools pay between three and ten dollars each month for those passes. What would our transit system look like if everyone had to pay their fair share?

  • WBM5
    Aug. 21, 2009 10:18 a.m.

    What about in the evenings when the Front runner only runs every hour? I have missed a train because I planned poorly. We take the Frontrunner to the Bee's game from Layton. Now we will have to miss more of the game so we can switch Trax and get to Frontrunner in time. We have a disabled member in our family and rushing about is not an option. Neither is switching horses in mid stream. We can't at the last minute decide the bus instead of Trax. I know we don't ride everyday but it was nice and easy for us to have a family outing. now I don't know if it is worth the hassle.

  • John
    Aug. 21, 2009 10:17 a.m.

    TO: Y'all need to chill!

    You're are assuming quite a bit! You really think they actually studied anything?

    That would take work.

  • Aerick
    Aug. 21, 2009 9:16 a.m.

    Chalk me up as another disatisfied, full-fare paying customer regarding this change! It will definitely make my commute more hectic and difficult. I guess there is one silver lining, though: I won't have to ride with all those annoying discount-fare paying university students any longer. ;)

  • UTA spells disaster
    Aug. 21, 2009 8:36 a.m.

    Why well now the only trax to the front runner is the university so that means 1 trax every 15 minutes! befor a trax would go every 7.5 minutes making it easy to shop gateway and get back to frontrunner now miss just 1 trax and you miss the train! Stupidity at UTA! The ridership in the drop again after this not well thought out change!!!!!!!!!

  • My two cents
    Aug. 21, 2009 8:29 a.m.

    As of Monday, either I can add another 20 minutes to my already 50 minute UTA commute from Taylorsville to Downtown for work. Or I can begin to drive and have it take 20 minutes all together. I've loved riding UTA for the past several years. I've read a lot of good books while sitting on TRAX. Due to this latest schedule change, I'll be emitting carbon monoxide from my own car.

  • Token toter
    Aug. 21, 2009 8:24 a.m.

    Looks like us folks paying the full un-subsidized Frontrunner and express fares from Davis county lose on this one, while the state-paid-fare university folks are the winners. When we stop riding and income from fares decreases, we'll lose again in higher state taxes to keep the UTA system going.

  • Y'all need to chill!
    Aug. 21, 2009 8:20 a.m.

    Today I applaud UTA once again for making the right changes in today's environment. I'm sure that they have analyzed this change through field studies and where their concentration needs to be a main focus, and they came up with this solution. I don't think Mr. Inglish and his colleagues woke up one morning and said they wanted to change the routing to inconvenience you. Nor did they decide this for the bonus check each quarter. We all have tight family budget constraints and so does UTA. So chillax everyone and bear it, coz your comments here aren't gonna change their mind.

  • John C. Moody
    Aug. 21, 2009 7:57 a.m.

    I am a long time rider of the UTA system (over 25 years) and have found the Buses and Trax systems wonderful.

    For those who have concerns about any schedule changes, I would recommend that you call the Custome Service Staff and air your concerns. I have found them to be very helpful in the past, and they just might be able to help with some tips on the trips a person would want to take.

    Rather than complain, go to the source and work with this vital organization.

    Thanks UTA for helping to keep our air cleaner.

  • Anonymous
    Aug. 21, 2009 7:48 a.m.

    The commuter rail/TRAX system is not really mass transit, it's elite transit because only the wealthy can afford it.

    When my son worked evenings in Salt Lake, he had to pay $8 for a round trip from the Farmington station to his destination on 7th East. He was only making $7.50 an hour! With transfers from TRAX and waiting for the next train, it also took nearly 2 hours to get home at night -- for trip that takes 20-30 minutes by car.

    Why not lower the price and fill up the commuter rail cars? UTA would make at least the same, or even more, money that way. And people would feel better about all the inconvenience and time spent taking the train.

  • P
    Aug. 21, 2009 6:36 a.m.

    This Trax change is about the dumbest change I've ever seen UTA make. Adding one more transfer to my commute will actually make it impossible for me to make the bus to my final destination. So, UTA has scheduled me right out of being able to use public transportation.

  • Anonymous
    Aug. 21, 2009 12:23 a.m.

    The people that will benefit the most from this change are the University of Utah students who live south of Salt Lake City and take TRAX to school. The "U"'s parking is absolutely ridiculous and it almost impossible some times to find parking. Sometimes I simply cannot find a parking spot close enough to my classes to get to them on time. I used to take TRAX to school, but I began driving every day because it was just becoming too inconvenient. Unless you take a direct service train, it takes FOREVER to get to campus (basically 50 minutes to an hour). If I remember correctly, there were only two trains in the morning that I could take that would go directly to the U: the train at 7:15 and 7:30 (I get on at the Midvale - Fort Union Station). Now that there are going to be direct trains every half hour, I believe that I will begin to take TRAX more often. This will save me a lot of money as a poor, starving college student. Paying for gas and parking meters/lots was really a drain on me.

  • You just lost another rider, UTA
    Aug. 20, 2009 11:23 p.m.

    From UTA's site: "UTA will also modify TRAX service to Salt Lake Central Station. Sandy trains will terminate at Arena station, while University trains will continue to Salt Lake Central Station. Individuals on a Sandy train desiring to continue to Salt Lake Central should transfer to a University train or bus to complete their trip."

    Pray everybody's running on time.

    So if I live in Davis/Weber, take FrontRunner and want to go south of the Gallivan (IMC in Murray, Bees game, ANYWHERE south) I get to transfer on another TRAX train. If I live in Sandy, and want to take FrontRunner north, I have to transfer on another TRAX train. If I am late to catch the fewer lines going to the I-Hub, ala University lines, I may watch my FrontRunner leaving and wait 30 mins. for the next one.

    Awesome you solved the Clearfield-Express bus problem. For the 100 or so ridership that serves daily. Way to think utilitarian on this one.

    Wow. One step forward. About 10 backward. Nice work. Go ahead and give yourselves some more bonuses, Mr. Inglish, and braintrust behind this debacle. You just lost my $160+/month.

  • Dave
    Aug. 20, 2009 11:23 p.m.

    To anonymous @1030pm:

    "The only people who HAVE to transfer are those folks south of downtown."

    That's a lot of people. This is one of the most inconveniencing changes UTA has ever put forth.

    I live in Layton and work just off 21st south in SLC. I take the Trax downtown in order to catch either a slooowww bus or a faster Frontrunner home.

    When I choose to spend the extra money to take the Frontrunner, I have about 5-6 minutes to buy my ticket andmake my connection.

    However, looking at the schedules, it appears that I will now have to leave Trax at the Arena station, wait 10 minutes for a Trax which came from the U of U, and take it the rest of the way. This 10 minute delay will result in missing the previous train and force me to wait 25 minutes for the next one. By that point, it'll no longer be faster than the slooowww bus.

    So thanks, UTA, for helping to make your Frontrunner just a bit more of a failure. Thanks for making it more inconvenient. Way to go.

  • Anonymous
    Aug. 20, 2009 10:30 p.m.

    This story makes it sound like Mr Sid Campbell and all other passengers will HAVE to transfer if they want to get to FrontRunner. Any passengers boarding TRAX at any stop downtown can just get on a University train and ride it directly to Salt Lake Central (to catch FrontRunner). The only people who HAVE to transfer are those folks south of downtown.

  • Another Student
    Aug. 20, 2009 9:35 p.m.

    I've often opted to drive another 25 minutes and park rather than take the train to school, which took an hour with the transfer. Direct train routes were too sparse. Hoping for such an adjustment, I've been sure to use the "tap on - tap off" tracking system. I'm very pleased to have an efficient public transportation system.

  • Anonymous
    Aug. 20, 2009 7:04 p.m.

    "Also, a lot of times you can't tell whether it's a Sandy or University train..." How can you not tell where the train is going? They have the final destination of each train plastered all over the place. I always marvel at these people who end up getting on the wrong train somehow.. There are only two lines in the system and each train is clearly marked. How confusing can it be?

  • UofU student
    Aug. 20, 2009 6:59 p.m.

    I am very happy with this change. I realize that some people are put out, but i'm sure there are more people that the change benefits than the other way around. my guess is that these changes came as a result of the "tap on-tap off" cards that we use now. Thanks UTA!