Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Will UTA ever learn how to coordinate schedules?

When UTA came out with its most recent schedule changes, I got really excited because they announced that they would have route 3 serve LDS Hospital and provide coordinated schedules with routes 1 and 2 which also service the hospital. Since I first started riding UTA I felt this should be done and finally it has.

However after looking at the schedules I am trying to figure out what UTA means by coordinated schedules.

I will take a look at the off peak schedules since they run at a set pattern. All three routes run every 30-minutes. Well logic assumes that if they run every 30-minutes then there should be a bus by every 10-minutes. Instead lets take a look at one late morning block of buses and I will use the LDS hospital outbound timepoint as an example since this is the primary point of coordination. Lets look at the 11:00AM to noon and look at the times: Route 2 11:10, Route 1 11:15, Route 3 11:25, Route 2 11:40, Route 1 11:45, Route 3 11:55.

This is coordination UTA style. The previous 3 ran at 10:55 then you have 15-minutes until the 2 comes along, then you have a route one in 5 minutes, a route 3 in 10 minutes and once again a 15 minute wait. I even gave UTA the benefit of the doubt and checked inbound schedules leaving the University Hospital and once again the schedules are not coordinated.

This isn't the only example of UTA's ability not to coordinate schedules. Routes 7 and 11 both travel 1300 east from the University of Utah to Stratford road which is just north of 2700 South. Both routes run every 30 minutes but instead of providing coordinated every 15-minutes service along this stretch of road that takes almost 15-minutes to travel down. Instead on the outbound runs route 11 runs just 4 minutes behind route 7 and five minutes behind running inbound.

Another example is routes 21 and 32. While this only covers one run in the morning it not shows the lack of ability of the UTA planners to properly schedule buses but also gives the anti-transit people something to howl about. Route 21 and 32 run from 6200 South and Highland Drive all the way to downtown along Van Winkle, 700 East, and 200 South. Every morning at about 7:30am there is a 21 and 32 running neck and neck along the same route. Both are limited service from 4500 South to Downtown so this is an incredible waste resources.

This type of poorly coordinated service makes transit harder to use. UTA needs to make the bus system easy to use like TRAX currently is. UTA still has a long way to go.

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