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Ogden man finds time to unwind while riding train

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While bad weather, gridlock and gas prices are common complaints from commuting drivers, public transit riders often find their journeys an opportunity for rest and relaxation.

Trevor Greenwood doesn't ride public transit for convenience or necessity. In fact, he doesn't even save money by leaving his car parked.

Instead, this resident of Ogden rides the train for an opportunity to enjoy his day and help the environment.

The reasons people use public transportation are as unique as each rider. Some riders have their own vehicles and only take public transit to avoid parking or because they want to reduce some of their fuel costs, while others ride buses and TRAX in tandem with bicycles out of necessity.

Since last summer, Greenwood has left his car and carpool behind and is now a daily commuter between Ogden and Sandy via FrontRunner and TRAX. Round-trip, Greenwood estimated his trip takes him about three hours, whereas it took him two hours by car.

"That extra hour is my time to unwind from work," Greenwood said.

There isn't any reason for Greenwood to keep his eyes on the road, so he can tackle other tasks, such as paying his bills or reading, as he is "chauffeured" between destinations.

The concept of time for passengers is somewhat different than for drivers, public transit users have said. Greenwood said that when he drives his car his attention is on the road, and the drive between home and work was something Greenwood considered the most stressful part of his day. By contrast, the transit ride is his most relaxing.

"I'm actually gaining time by riding the train instead of driving," Greenwood said. "It's not an extra hour to my commute as long as I find ways to use that hour. It's time for me to do what I want."

With wireless internet available on FrontRunner, it isn't difficult to get things done, even if it's just Greenwood's preference: reading. Greenwood said he averages about two books a week.

After his car broke down two years ago Midvale resident John Olsen has ridden buses throughout Salt Lake City on a daily basis. He uses the system to go to work, run errands and visit his mother.

To accomplish everything he needs to in a day, Olsen said he must frequently check bus schedules and maps for changes to stop times and potential detours. In the morning Olsen will sometimes call UTA's information line for details on new routes he is considering to verify the slew of new pamphlets he has collected recently are correct.

"When you are in the dead of winter and it's nighttime, you want to know a bus is coming," Olsen said.

Despite the fact Olsen travels considerable distances each day, he hasn't ever thought about his commute in terms of miles.

E-mail: cnorlen@desnews.com