At the same time a state senator is taking Utah Transit Authority to task for inefficiency, an independent study by the University of North Carolina shows Wasatch Front residents are getting a good bus ride for their bucks.
According to the bus transit company rankings, UTA ranks 33rd - in the top third of large bus systems. The study reviewed the costs and usage of 102 of the national largest transit systems from 1988 to 1991.The most efficient transit systems are in Tucson, Ariz.; San Antonio, Texas; Louisville, Ken.; Phoenix, Ariz.; and Montgomery, Ala. The least efficient are in Oklahoma City, Okla.; West Palm Beach, Fla., Youngstown, Ohio; Nassau-Suffolk, N.Y.; and Greenville, S.C.
Nationwide, the performance of transit systems declined on eight measures tracked, and improved on four measures. Population served and area served became more concentrated, and ridership increased slightly. However, operating costs per vehicle-mile and vehicle-hours increased 11.2 percent and 12.9 percent, respectively.
"Transit systems are a critical and important service in most urban areas. This study shows that many of these systems are operating effectively and are serving both taxpayers and riders," said professor David T. Hartgen, the study's author.