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Shuttle system has bugs

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Since the media seems to enjoy singing the Utah Transit Authority's praises lately, I thought I would like to share my opinion, especially in regard to Zack Van Eyck's recent article "Riders on Trax Endure Transfer" (June 18, 2001).

The scene portrayed in the accompanying photo seems to be a very orderly, organized transfer. In fact, I am in that photograph and I can tell you from having to "endure" the transfer since the day it started, things are nowhere near as rosy as Mr. Van Eyck or UTA has made them appear. Now, two weeks later, it's no better.

Firstly, despite UTA's claims that the 20,000 fliers it had printed up were not an attempt to be misleading, they certainly were. For example, the flier states that "a bus shuttle system will be implemented to mimic TRAX service." In fact, the buses make an attempt at mimicry but fail. For example, if you want to travel from City Center to Delta Center, you might as well hoof it.

If you want to use public transit, you have to take a southbound bus to Courthouse, and all the way around to a stop half a block east of the TRAX station. If the shuttle bus you take to Courthouse is at the end of the line, you then have to get off and walk to the bus at the front of the line. This process takes longer than it does to walk.

Secondly, I paused on the platform to decide which shuttle I wanted to take, and by the reaction of the UTA employees, you'd have thought I was setting up a tent. They barked at me to move it along and decide which way I wanted to go.

Finally, there seems to be an incredible lack of communication between the public and UTA. There are posters all over the place listing the number for the "TRAX Hotline." As far as I've been able to determine, the number reaches a young woman at her home. Both times I've called, there was a baby crying in the background. Neither time did the woman have an answer to my question.

Instead, she referred me to UTA's RIDE UTA number, because she didn't know what was going on.

I noticed the morning train was emptier this morning than it has been. I was even able to sit down. Soon there will be one more empty seat and one more car on the road. Mine.

James Hofheins

Salt Lake City