Changes Are Coming To UTA Bus Routes, But Not Everyone Is On Board In Tooele
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Changes are coming to the UTA bus system, but not everyone is on board in Tooele, where riders worry the proposed adjustments will lead to fewer options and more overcrowding during rush hour.
“Realistically I could get home quicker if I drove,” rider Brian Bell said. “Just trying to save a little money…save the environment a little bit.”
Twice a day, five days a week, riders like Bell make the hour plus trip to and from work between Tooele and Salt Lake City.
Bell said he’s noticed more crowding, particularly on the 451 Express.
“On Monday for instance we had 10 people standing in the aisle…going down the freeway. Going down the interstate at 70 miles an hour,” Bell said.
That’s one reason why Bell and other Tooele bus riders weren’t too happy when UTA announced proposed changes to add midday routes and cut in half the amount of trips from Tooele to Salt Lake during the morning and evening commute.
“Honestly I was a little upset about it,” University of Utah student Logan Lang said. “I don’t have a car.”
The proposed changes to bus rides in Tooele are just a handful of changes coming to about a third of UTA bus routes.
“The fact that people are standing on the bus right now is an indication that we need to make adjustments,” said Eric Callison, UTA Manager of Service Planning.
Over the last couple of weeks, Callison and other UTA officials have been from Taylorsville to Ogden to Tooele to Provo and Salt Lake, seeking the public’s feedback on the changes.
Callison said they saw the most feedback from Tooele, where one rider gave UTA a six page document full of suggestions.
“People are concerned, people are passionate. And we want to take their feedback and turn that into the best service we can provide for as many people as possible,” said Callison.
Changes are coming to about a third of @RideUTA #bus routes, but not everyone is on board…particularly in Tooele where the UTA is proposing cutting rush hour trips and adding midday routes. Riders worry about fewer options and overcrowding. @KSL5TV at 10pm pic.twitter.com/KIWtzLyyDc
— Matt Rascon (@MattRasconNews) April 12, 2019
By adding midday service and adjusting rush hour trip times in Tooele, UTA hopes to spread out the demand.
“Our intent is not to leave anyone out in the cold that’s currently taking UTA, of course. We want to just expand those offerings and make it possible for more people to use public transportation,” he said,
Riders like Lang and Bell worry the plan could backfire.
“It’s a good idea to have midday service,” Lang agreed. “But Tooele is a commuting city.”
When Bell heard the proposed changes he said “It feels like my time isn’t as valuable to them.”
Now he worries his commute may be headed in the wrong direction.
“What we were hoping, or at least, I was hoping is that there would be more service,” he said.
UTA’s final public hearing on the proposed changes was Thursday night. You can still give feedback on any of the proposals online or by phone until April 19th.
For more information on all of the proposals and how to give feedback you can visit their website.
UTA will then make adjustments to the proposals as needed and the finalized changes will go into effect in August.
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