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UTA's changes leave some riders scrambling

Trevor Nielson, left, and John Gonzales look at a new route map at UTA's Arena TRAX Station in Salt Lake City on Monday.
Trevor Nielson, left, and John Gonzales look at a new route map at UTA's Arena TRAX Station in Salt Lake City on Monday.
Barton Glasser, Deseret News

Chris Burningham, who commutes between his home in Clearfield and his job at the University of Utah, praises the convenience of a new bus route introduced by the Utah Transit Authority on Monday.

Time-wise, however, Burningham doesn't know how he's going to juggle the new bus route, the No. 2, into his commute since the FrontRunner Commuter Rail schedule has changed.

"I took the No. 2 bus and hoped to catch (FrontRunner) earlier, but I missed it," he said Monday at 5:30 p.m. The train left the Intermodal Hub at 5:27 p.m., and by taking the No. 2, Burningham missed it by just a few minutes. He had to wait until 5:57 p.m. for the next train.

Monday was UTA's "Change Day," the first day of changed schedules and routes. UTA typically has one or two Change Days a year. Most riders interviewed during the afternoon commute expressed a mix of contentment and frustration with the changes.

UTA train and bus supervisors were stationed at popular stops throughout the day to instruct confused passengers where to go. Passengers complained that some buses and trains were running behind the new schedule.

In addition to introducing a handful of routes, the most significant change was the addition of about 30 trains running between the University of Utah and Sandy all day. Previously, all Sandy trains went to the Intermodal Hub, except for a few during morning and afternoon rush hours, said UTA spokesman Gerry Carpenter.

But to pay for that all-day service, UTA stopped running Sandy trains to the Intermodal Hub. The final stop for Sandy trains en route to downtown is the Arena Station, Carpenter said.

On Monday afternoon, plenty of people headed for the Intermodal Hub from downtown accidentally hopped Sandy trains and were forced off at the Arena Station, necessitating unsheduled waits for other trains to transport them to the hub.

Deborah Billas of Ogden and Liz Johnson of West Point take the FrontRunner Commuter Rail and the No. 227 bus to get to work at the University of Utah Redwood Clinic, 1525 W. 2100 South.

They normally caught the No. 227 bus at 400 South and 400 West, which meant a mad dash to and from the Intermodal Hub each morning and afternoon. But with the changes, the No. 227 now picks them up at the Intermodal Hub.

However, on Monday, the No. 227 was 15 minutes late, meaning they were late for work.

"Today, we didn't have to run there," Billas said. "I'll give up the 15 minutes to not run."


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