Bus redesign implemented

By By Rochelle McConkie

By Rochelle McConkie

Despite initial outrage, UTA’s new bus-route system brought little protest from most riders since its implementation.

Some changes the Utah Transit Authority made included renumbering all UTA bus routes, increasing the number of “fast buses” and routes operating on 15-minute intervals, adding routes to and from the U and cutting some stops downtown to add more access to the suburbs.

Senior biology major Jason Owens, who rides the bus about three days a week from Sandy, said he now has to drive to his stop to catch a ride to the U.

“(The bus) used to go to my house, but now I have to go 20 blocks to get to the bus I used to walk to,” Owens said.

Although UTA said the new plan offers more service to suburban areas, only fast buses and express services go to parts of Sandy and Draper now, which only travel to the U in the morning and evening.

Still, Owens said, the re-design isn’t too big of a deal for him.

The changes were advertised through UTA and were posted at bus stops, but the rerouting still came as a surprise to some students.

Chris Dammert, a junior English major, got on the wrong bus and rode around for a little while before figuring out the correct route.

“I didn’t even know they changed,” Dammert said. “I guess I found out the hard way.”

Rebecca Montgomery, an undecided sophomore, said the change will be a positive one. She used to take the 7200 South bus that came every half hour, pushing back the time she got home from school.

“Now the bus comes a lot more than it used to,” Montgomery said.

But for some students, the bus changes are bringing them home later.

Aisha Steger, a senior in business marketing, rides UTA buses to the U from her home in Holladay.

“I don’t mind it. It picks me up at the same place, but the problem is that I leave school around 2 in the afternoon and now it only comes every hour,” Steger said. “I have to wait 45 minutes.”

Carlene Cooper, who works as a custodian in Milton Bennion Hall, said the change is more convenient for her because the bus she takes now stops right outside her building.

“I’m hoping it will be OK as long as it stays on time,” Cooper said.

David Joyner, a professor in the School of Medicine, also takes the bus from the Business Loop stop outside MBH. Joyner said the bus is continually late.

“I’ve been riding UTA for 22 years and it’s been terrible — totally unpredictable,” Joyner said, as he waited for a bus that was already 10 minutes late. “Most (routes) seem to be running fairly smoothly, except mine of course.”

U Director of Commuter Services Alma Allred said he hasn’t received any comments about the redesign this week — a different scenario from when the plans were originally announced last spring, when Allred said two-thirds of the students that came in to talk about the redesign had only negative things to say.

“People really let you know if needs aren’t being met,” Allred said. “The fact that we’re not hearing anything shows it may not be as bad as they thought it would be.”

Mike Cooper, who drives UTA buses on every route, said passengers have been pretty positive with the changes.

“Once everyone understands how it works, it will be a lot better,” Cooper said.

In November, UTA will add about 40 new buses to the Salt Lake system and hire more employees, he said.

UTA spokesman Chad Saley said he thinks the transition went smoothly.

Saley said UTA won’t know whether the change affected ridership until mid-September.

UTA will make minor changes to its bus system in November. Any problems with the new system will be addressed then and public input is welcome, he said.

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Maegan Burr

UTA bus route changes went into effect last week. UTA says that the changes will improve connections and streamline routes.