Thursday, March 09, 2006

A day riding the bus.

The fuel pump went out in my car so today I had to spend the entire day riding the bus and as anyone who lives in Salt Lake knows, we had some interesting weather today.

Riding the bus would be no big deal except for the fact that one of the errands I had today involved picking up paper work at a place that is a far walk from the nearest bus stop.

The day started out with catching the 11 bus at Spring Lane and 1300 East which was due at 4500 South at 8:57AM. The bus arrived close to on time and we where on our way. While a few snow flakes fell from 3900 South on, at 1700 South it look as though we had entered another world as we hit the main thrust of the storm. Not only was it snowing hard but with the he wind, visibility was bad and the roads become covered almost instantly.

I was impressed with most of the auto drivers as they did slow down and where actually being considerate. The only exception was one idiot near the U of U who turned left right in front of the bus. However, he got an unpleasant surprise as he raced up the hill only to get stuck with a bunch of other cars.

Showing how some routes have too much running time, despite the slow going and all the snow we still arrived on time at the ZCMI Center.

My next bus was the 34 which turn out to be one of the CNG buses. This was the first time I have ever ridden one of these buses and smelled CNG when the bus was moving.

After my long walk I boarded a 43 bus. When the bus approached I thought it wasn't the 43 because it said GARAGE but then I saw a paper sign in the window saying 43. This is the first time I have encountered a non-working headsign while riding UTA.

My next three buses I rode where all on line 31. The first one was one of the articulated buses on a route that should have them. Of course these buses where ordered for the express routes so have the nicer seats in them which is a pleasant treat.

The next route I took was the 10 which I caught northbound at 3300 south at 1:53PM. The driver was the one of only two bad drivers I had today (the next driver was the other). He was extremely unfriendly and is a poor asset in trying to get people to ride the bus.

After visiting my mother in her nursing home I rode the 30 over to Sugerhouse and caught the 8 in order to pick up my vehicle. The 8 had a good load of mostly Judge High School students but for the most part they where pretty respectful.

Here are my overall comments:

1. UTA needs to be getting more bus stop shelters built. With our extreme weather in Summer and Winter, UTA' s customers need protection from the elements. Isn't it interesting that the only shelter I was able to use today was in front of UTA headquarters!

2. Running times need to be looked at on some routes.

3. No bus should go out with a broken headsign. There was buses sitting at the UTA Meadowbrook facility so why did a bus go out with a malfunctioning headsign?

4. While it is not under UTA's control, UTA needs to work with cities and the county on sidewalks. I walked probably 4 miles today and only a small portion had sidewalks (mainly 500 East and Sugerhouse). People are not going to ride the bus if they can't conveniently get to the bus.

Overall, the day went well. However, UTA still has a lot of work to do before it is going to attract more customers to their bus system.

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