Thursday, September 06, 2007

Buses are not Light Rail

On my morning walks I often see the 307 and 320 so called "fast buses" heading toward downtown. While they may be doing better along 700 East mainly because everything else has been slaughtered in this major corridor, it seems like those two routes have less people on them than before the bus service cuts (OK, not scientific). So why is this?

Well it looks like they looked at the success of TRAX which is doing extremely well and decided to emulate it. So they cut out a bunch of the stops and stopped serving the neighborhoods. However, the market for buses and the market for TRAX is different and cannot be applied the same.

Let me use the poor 320 and the previous route 21 as comparisons. The old 21 used to travel through Sandy neighborhoods then make a bee line for downtown. OK it was a little slower than the current 21 but not by much especially when you consider that the 320 has been running late frequently.

So the new 320 eliminated all the stops in Sandy and along Highland Drive so now people have to either walk long distances (and there are lots of hills in the area) or drive their cars to the park N ride lot then board the bus instead of walking to a bus stop and getting on. In other words the service is not convenient.

The 320 has loss a large amount of its market. Not only does it not service the neighborhoods anymore but all the bus service in the area is gone. So in other words the UTA has force people either to drive to park n ride lot, walk long distances or in many cases just go ahead and drive because its more convenient.

In addition if people do take the bus into to town they can't live until the evening rush service starts because there is no bus service along Highland Drive except at 9400 South.

The Fast Bus system has made buses less flexible, less convenient, and less marketable thanks to the bus cuts.

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