UTA is Modifying Bus Routes in December. Here’s What U Students Need to Know.


Andrea Oltra

A bus run by the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) outside the North Temple Station on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022. (Photo by Andrea Oltra | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Chandler Joost, News Writer


Utah Transit Authority recently announced that due to a lack of drivers, it will cancel three routes and modify service on a number of routes in Salt Lake, Davis and Weber County. According to UTA’s website, the changes will start on Dec. 11.

“The driver shortage started to become a noticeable issue late last spring, early summer,” said Carl Arky, senior media relations specialist for UTA. “When it became apparent this was going to be a significant issue which would not be resolved heading into the ski season, UTA planners began looking at alternative plans, routes, etc.”

Of the bus routes being altered, routes 455 and 902 directly service the University of Utah. Route 455 runs from Ogden to the U campus and route 902 runs from Salt Lake City to Park City, with a stop at U Hospital on the route.

“Students who transfer from any of these other routes to get to the U of U should check the new schedules before change day because many times will change,” Arky said.

Other routes that will be affected by this change, according to Arky, are bus routes 650, 901 and 953 being suspended. Route 953 would have serviced Snowbird and Alta ski resorts.

Routes 39, 201, 218, 240, 455, 470, 603, 612, 625, 640, 645, 902, 972 and 994 are being reduced or otherwise modified.

Dec. 11, when routes will be altered, has been referred to as “change day” by UTA and service will immediately change. Ben Worwood, a student at the U who uses UTA to get to school, said he hadn’t heard anything about bus routes changing.

“I would think that significant changes to multiple bus lines that so many people must depend on would be covered better in our local news but I haven’t seen anything about it,” Worwood said.

Worwood added he doesn’t use the routes that will be affected by the changes.

“However, I know that those routes go to Ogden and Park City and I think that a decrease in service of those routes will kind of make the U less accessible for students who live in those areas or at least be very inconvenient for them,” he said.

Arky wanted to quell rumors that this change has anything to do with the current Little Cottonwood Canyon Gondola project being proposed.

“Some online chatter recently has talked about UTA making service reductions on ski service to force riders toward using the future gondola,” Arky said. “The service reductions for December Change Day are emergency, hopefully temporary, reductions and have nothing to do with any gondola plans.”

Some of the bus routes impacted service ski resorts in Little Cottonwood Canyon, according to The Salt Lake Tribune, at a time when some advocates against the gondola project hoped to show how bus services could be a solution to traffic problems within the canyon.

UTA is always trying to recruit and retain new bus drivers, Arky said, and UTA is outperforming other transit agencies in the nation in retention and recruitment practices.

“UTA has adapted to the marketplace by offering to fast-track new bus operators while providing paid training,” he said. “UTA is also working with a consultant to improve its recruitment efforts. Compared with many other major mass transit agencies in the United States, UTA is actually doing better than other these other agencies when it comes to recruitment and retention of its bus operators. We will continue to seek out qualified candidates we believe can help UTA provide the safest and most reliable service possible.”


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