FrontRunner: a disaster

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  • anti-liar Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 20, 2012 3:08 a.m.

    The fares need to be lower. Then it will succeed. Public transit is supposed to be an excellent value, much less expensive than driving.

  • Straitpath PROVO, UT
    Dec. 19, 2012 5:58 p.m.

    Remember the dust up caused by the news that UTA officials were traveling to Europe to study train systems? Accountability called for. What did they learn that helped them/us?

  • Makid Kearns, UT
    Dec. 19, 2012 8:27 a.m.

    To those that think UTA should have waited to build rail, you might be surprised to know that UTA has one of the higher ridership levels in the country for the area it serves.

    To those complaining about the commutes due to express buses. I hope you are equally pushing your cities and county (Utah) to increase the UTA tax portion again. If this were to happen, the Lehi extension of Trax could be fast tracked to happen in the next 5 to 10 years. That would make it a 60 minute ride from Lehi to Downtown SLC via Trax.

    I know some people keep thinking buses are cheaper but they aren't.

    The personnel costs to move an equal amount of people on buses compared to Trax is 5 to 1. 5 bus drivers for every 1 Trax driver to move the same people.

    In the next 30 years, UTA will spend about $100 Million on train cars and repairs. In the same 30 years, UTA will spend at least $1 Billion on bus replacement and repairs. Looking at these, which would you rather pay?

    Keep in mind, they both move about the same amount of people daily.

  • Schwa South Jordan, UT
    Dec. 18, 2012 5:06 p.m.

    I don't know what crazy routes you are taking, but my 45 minute commute from downtown to Provo was extended to 57 minutes. 45 minutes is assuming perfect traffic, which rarely happens because most of you people don't know how to drive. I feel much safer on the train without the giant lifted pickups tailgating me at 80 mph. And on top of that I can relax, do some work, take a nap, or whatever else I feel like. FrontRunner is a huge boon to the Wasatch Front, and we should all be grateful we have it.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 18, 2012 4:56 p.m.

    There are definitely some scenarios where the FrontRunner would be really useful. It just doesn't seem to be close to even a majority of the scenarios actually occurring for people down south trying to get somewhere up north.

  • UtahVoter Spanish Fork, UT
    Dec. 18, 2012 4:33 p.m.

    Billions of dollars ago, there were commuter busses taking half the time or less in moving commuters to places of business and industry. Those busses had good internet allowing commuters to 'work on the go', allowed seats to lean back to catch up on sleep, allowed lights on or off per seat. They were really, really nice for commuters. My bus was standing-room only so it's not like it was an underused investment.

    Strangely billions ("yes, with a B") of dollars later those nice busses have been tossed aside in favor of a much, much slower and more dangerous rail system. Where many commuters once had a single connection from home to work, they now have multiple points of failure -- my commute used to be 1hr, 15 minutes each way and now easily hits 3 hours each way some days in making multiple connections. Six hour commutes on slow, uncomfortable trains with intermittent, unusable internet is not an improvement.

    At many transit connection hundreds of commuters are shuttled in a hurried, stressed masses across multiple rail crossings with neither gates nor horns. It's interesting that the billion dollar investments couldn't consider safety with at least pedestrian bridges.

  • Thoughtful Voter Spanish Fork, UT
    Dec. 18, 2012 12:57 p.m.

    Rail connections up the I-15 corridor are nice. They make it easier to connect SLC to the rest of the valley for Jazz games, the downtown Arts scene, and LDS tourism and meetings.

    But replacing the efficient express busses with commute times that are -- on average! -- twice as long is, indeed, a *major* and precipitous step in the wrong direction.

    I work for a large employer in downtown SLC. My commute by (cancelled) bus took 1hr15 minutes each way. That was livable. It now takes 2-3 hours each way. That might work if I was single and just wanted to read books and play video games on the train for the rest of my life. But suddenly those of us that used to maintain families are being jarred into having to consider changing employment or residences. It's not like we all had a few hundred extra dollars lying around to switch back to commuting by automobile. Some are hoping to form car pools, but I haven't seen any of those work out yet.

    And that's what is perplexing. 80-90% of the train ridership is commuter. And yet commuters are being pushed back to the freeways.

  • 1conservative WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Dec. 18, 2012 12:41 p.m.

    @ "Z" Trains are more efficient per passenger mile if they're full, (or near full).

    You're right if you only count "operating costs" per mile.

    Have you seen the 80 million$$? (sorry the exact cost escapes me) trains garage on 21st south and 9th west?
    How long will it take to amortize the horrific costs not only for the rail lines, but also the trains themselves? Trains require a much higher level of expertise to repair than do buses.

    Have you ever seen how many UTA employees do nothing but various assorted "train" functions?
    True, UTA received a lot of that "free" money from the federal government to build the lines, - except as we know its not "free".

    UTA has spent almost 3 billion on various "choo choo" trains (and the lines).

    You can make A LOT of bus trips for 3 billion!

    I wouldn't have had a problem if UTA would have only acquired the right-of-way at this time and then waited 10 or 20 yrs. til the wasatch front was more dense to build the trains.

    The Wasatch front is simply NOT dense enough yet to justify trains.

    Buses are the most cost effective for now.

  • Z South Jordan, UT
    Dec. 18, 2012 12:13 p.m.

    @1Conservative, you have it backwards: Buses are expensive to operate. Per passenger mile, trains are far more efficient. UTA recovers only about 10% of the cost of bus service at the fare box. Train fares (both TRAX and FrontRunner) are recovering over 40% of their operational cost at the fare box.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Dec. 18, 2012 10:05 a.m.

    I took the Express Bus system for years and it wasn't that great either to be honest. The bus was on time but often times it was standing room only which was a 45 minute miserable ride. Everyone standing would have to pile out of the bus while someone in the back got out and then everyone piles back in ... repeated many times along the way. There were only a few times to pick the express bus up too the early morning and late afternoon. Frontrunner does need to fix the time problem no question - being that late leaving folks standing in the cold and late for work is not acceptable. I'm sure they will fix it... give UTA some time this is brand new. I will say this ... my son is taking Front Runner to West Jordan from Provo and he save $200 a month in gas. Pretty darn good.

  • SLC gal Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 18, 2012 10:03 a.m.

    The main reason I got my drivers license was so I would not be at the mercy of UTA. Still the best decision I ever made!

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Dec. 18, 2012 8:52 a.m.

    It's not as convenient as driving and sometimes I have no choice but to drive because bus routes don't cover places I need to go.

    But any time I can ride Frontrunner from Ogden to SLC, I'll do it. Why?

    Because it costs me (senior) only $8.45 round trip on Frontrunner. It costs a minimum of $16 to drive.

    And I can take a nap along the way if I want to. Napping while driving provides much less restful sleep. All those honking horns keep waking me up.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Dec. 18, 2012 8:08 a.m.

    So save money and drive. I'll bet your bus pass costs more than the gas with a decent car getting good gas mileage.

  • 1conservative WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Dec. 18, 2012 6:31 a.m.

    Mr. Gaerber: The first thing you need to realize when discussing UTA is that they exist for 2 main reasons; to supply (and enhance) the salaries of the bosses, and in a lesser issue; to satisfy the various mayors along their route so that they can continue to do the first and paramount goal of enriching the top 10% of salaries at UTA.

    Both the daybreak and West Valley lines are running far below capacity (or projections). You can bet frontrunner will be the same.

    Frontruner and TRAX make for good P.R. (aren't they cute?) but the Wasatch front is still way too rural to make them effective as people movers on the wasatch front.

    Trains are horrifically expensive to operate. The more trains (of either type)that UTA adds, the more bus WILL be curtailed.

    At this point the only thing you can do is to write letters to your legislators and/or elected officials asking them to help solve UTA''s problems.

    UTA is not about to do it themselves.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 18, 2012 4:42 a.m.

    UTA should set a goal to make TRAX a two lane system instead of just one. Otherwise it will never be able to give a really high level of service, especially in the tears ahead as the population increases. Before the tracks were laid would have been a better time to lay the foundation for this but it still ought to be done.