Riding the Rail of Public Transportation

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With over 30,000 undergraduates enrolled at the U, it’s no surprise many take public transportation to school every day.
Trevor Fedderson, a senior in Spanish and Latin American studies, took the blue line TRAX from Draper to get to the U for the first day of the semester.
“The train was absurdly crowded,” Fedderson said. “We had to collectively refuse entrance to people getting on. I felt bad about it.”
The U partners with UTA, purchasing 44,000 passes annually, to help students travel to and from campus. According to Collin Simmons, who works for the U’s Commuter Services, the first day of school was busy for commuters. More than 11,500 people tapped their UCards to ride TRAX on Aug. 25, and nearly 8,000 people rode express and regular buses.
TRAX can be used to get to campus, and there are stops at Rice-Eccles Stadium, the Huntsman Center and by Legacy Bridge near upper campus. There are also routes downtown into the center of Salt Lake and routes that go further, such as those to the SLC airport, to West Valley and to Draper.
Remi Barron, a UTA spokesperson, said the red line, the TRAX route servicing the U, is its most frequently used route, and the bus which travels on 200 South from Central Station to the U, is also heavily used. But on average, the numbers drop as the semester progresses.
Simmons said Commuter Services would like to provide a variety of transportation methods for students to travel downtown and around campus. Simmons said public transportation is a sustainable resource students should consider utilizing, especially with the number of UTA routes near the U.
He anticipates that, on average, more than 10,000 students will use UTA on a daily basis this semester. He said that in the fall of 2011, about 6,500 students used UTA on school days, and by fall 2013, the average number increased to more than 9,000.
Sarah Stott, a junior in modern dance, thinks public transportation is not always the best option for students.
“[Students are expected] to be really reliant on public transportation, but it’s not reliable,” Stott said.
She said routes don’t always connect to where students need to go and often don’t run late enough, and trains also get off schedule.
UTA’s Network Study is seeking to improve the system, focusing, among other things, on improved reliability on bus routes, faster east-west travel time downtown and an expanded network of high-quality, high-frequency transit, according to the UTA’s website.
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@SeymourSkimmer