Monday, November 07, 2005

Bus Wraps: Great for UTA not for its Customers

Over the last few years Wraps have become the rage in the transit industry. Wraps are when buses are wrapped completely including the windows.

The transit agencies have fought tooth and nail in various communities that have tried to put a limit on wraps. What the transit agencies is the money that comes in from the wraps.

What wraps truly show is just how much transit agencies only look to riders as numbers and not as customers that are there to be treated with respect. For anyone who has ridden on a bus with a wrap know that you can barely see out the windows and if you try to look out the windows for more than a minute it will give you a headache and blurry vision.

It also shows that bus riders are second class citizens in the eyes of many transit agencies. While you see buses all the time with wraps, when is the last time you saw a TRAX car with a full wrap that covers the windows? That's different because they consider TRAX riders more important than bus riders.

I have no problem with wraps so long as they do not cover the windows. A couple of years ago GTE I think it was had a wrap but it did not cover the windows. You could still clearly see who paid for the wrap so GTE did not loose any exposure even though the wrap did not cover the windows.

Message to Transit Agencies: Wraps are fine, but treat your bus customers the same way you treat your rail riders, DON'T WRAP THE WINDOWS!!!!

Friday, November 04, 2005

UTA Poorly Serves Destinations

If you are traveling to the University of Utah, Gateway Center, the Delta Center or any other destination served by directly by TRAX, you will have an easy time getting there. But if your destination is served by a bus, good luck, you might be able to get there or you many not because UTA poorly serves destinations.

A perfect example of this is the Southtown Mall. You can get close by TRAX but from there you have to take a bus. On Saturdays you may be able to get a bus in an hour or so but that is it. On weekdays you have a little more luck as couple of routes do serve the mall but UTA does a poor job of directing people from TRAX to the mall. There is no signs telling people when a where a bus heads to the mall. Considering it is a major destination, UTA should improve getting people to the mall especially since its one of the few malls that actually allows buses to service the mall.

Jordan Commons and the Southtown Expo center are another pair of destinations that has pathetic bus service. The route only runs Monday through Friday (although night service does run on Saturdays). Jordan Commons went to the point of renting a Double Decker bus to run from the Sandy Civic Center TRAX station to Jordan Commons. However, these places will get a TRAX station that should be opening next spring.

Another major destination is Jordan Landing. This relatively new shopping center was designed to be transit center. However route 82 that directly serves the center has been cut back to Weekdays only and if you want to travel there on Saturdays you have to ride the 42 which is a north/south route. In addition if you ride the 42 you a have to walk almost a full block then cross a very dangerous intersection and take your life into your hands.

This is just a few examples of major destinations that are poorly served by the UTA. When UTA reorganizes its bus service in the next year it needs to look at the places that people want to travel and ensure that bus service is provided to those destinations.
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Thursday, November 03, 2005

Changes to Eastside Bus Service

Kingsbury Hall is a major venue for the perfor...Image via WikipediaWhile the UTA has made some changes to the eastside bus service since the opening of the University TRAX overall there was been very little change over many years. In fact looking at some timetables from going back to the early days of UTA shows very little change in bus routes.
If you look at bus service from Downtown to the University you have multiple routes serving all the way from South Temple down to the TRAX line on 400 South. In fact the only street without bus service is 300 South. This is just overkill but it goes back to the fact that there has been very little major changes in bus service over the years and that is one of the problems with the UTA.

While little has been revealed on the proposed bus reorganization that will most likely reduce bus in the wrong spots, I will give my opinion on how eastside bus service should be reorganized looking at it from someone who rides the system and sees the needs of the riders.

Route 5: Discontinued.

Route 7: Discontinued. Southern portion replaced by new route.

Routes 5 and 7 run along 100 South eliminating all service from 100 South, however it still leaves frequent bus service on South Temple and 200 South just one block north and one block south.

Route 8: Service Increased to every 15-minutes.

Route 11: Service increased to every 15-minutes. Service extended from Fort Union Blvd and 1300 East via 1300 East and 7800 South to Midvale Central TRAX station

New Route: Would run from University Hospital, Medical Center Drive, Wasatch Drive, Foothill Drive, 3300 South, 3300 East, 2920 South (Louise Ave), 2700 East, 2900 South, 2880 South (Lakeview Drive), 2300 East, 2810 South (Atkin), 2140 East (Connor), 2700 South, 300 West, to Millcreek TRAX station (this route should eventually extended to west along 3100 South to Magna). Route should run every 30 minutes using 30-foot buses and would provide alternating 15-minute service with route 14 along Foothill Blvd.

New Route: Would run from University Hospital via Medical Center Drive, Wasatch Drive, 2100 East, Parley Canyon Blvd, 2000 East, 2700 South, Imperial, 3300 South, 1300 East, Brickyard Road/1100 East, 4500 South, 900 East, 5300 South, and Vine Street to Murray Central TRAX station. This route would run every 30-minutes with 30-foot buses. This route would provide a good north/south route providing service to the University of Utah Hospital, University of Utah, Brickyard Plaza, St. Marks Hospital and the Murray Central TRAX station including the new hospital complex being built there.

This revamp of bus service would reduce duplicate bus service, increase bus service on important streets, plus create a couple of new routes that would service portion of routes being discontinued but also provide service to areas not currently receiving service and provide bus service in directions not currently served.
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