Sunday, January 6, 2013

First impressions of a SALT Transit

Great rail infrastructure.  This was born out of the need to get the Olympics. They realized the benefits and had a plan in 2015 to build out their light rail.

Now its 2013 and most of the rail infrastructure complete, and not much else to do. You can see this in their 30 year plan with no real improvements.

The tickets cost 2.35   and all day pases cost 5.75. The  extra 15 cents makes things difficult.  I found machines which wouldn't take dollar bills (never will take credit) and forced me to walk 2 miles to the next train station.  When I spoke to  the cop, who was looking at my ticket on the train.  He stated I would be left to contest a $175 ticket.  

While ticket readers are great.  Do we need roving police checking tickets? Couldn't we spend our resources looking out for crime and hire a few conductors to read tickets from us?   Its more like saturation than randomness I am constantly being checked by the police.

I found machines that wouldn't take credit cards, but then a few days latter did. The inconstancy of these machines is a pain. You can go here to look at the machines which take credit cards. credit cards

Buying a monthly transit pass is difficult with not many stores outlets. They do allow you to pay with isis, but you need a working phone. Anyone caught with a dead battery will be stuck. You also need to tap and tap off at these terminals,  not very friendly. FYI the list they hand out isn't accurate, as I went to go buy a pass and the business was no longer there. Furthermore once they run out, your screwed and need to call in advance to ensure they have them.

The discount programs are difficult to follow. They want us to buy an eco pass for all 350 employees Yea right that won't happen.

Eco Pass pricing is based on the level of transit service at each separate business location and the total employee base. Sponsoring companies must employ a minimum of 35 persons and passes must be purchased for ALL employees at the work location. A one-year contract is required. An Eco Pass representative will create a personal quote for your business. Many companies choose to subsidize the program and use it for a recruiting tool. Consequently, progressive programs like the Eco Pass can help build employee loyalty.

The coop plan states we need to employ 70 people into the plan.  Again that is a hard number to come by. Furthermore our company is not going to enroll in any of these plans.

The Co-op Transit Pass is a company-sponsored program that provides discounted monthly passes for employees. Passes must be purchased for 20 percent of the employees working at the sponsoring business location. UTA discounts the monthly cost of a regular or premium pass by 20 percent. The company subsidizes another 30 percent. Employees are then able to purchase passes at a 50 percent discount.

The train I ride is the Blue to Sandy  (Draper coming this year as part of the 2015 plan). It's off the streets so it provides a fast ride, but has many stops which slows this down.  It splits an industrial zone in most areas and really seems out of place where people would walk and connect to light rail.

The one bus I do ride is a flex route which offers paratransit. Or curb to curb service.  Known as the Flex 514. It is slow and goes off route to provide the curb to curb service.  It does go to bus stops which are signed.  However you can flex the route and schedule a 3/4 mile stop along the route. Up two deviations are allowed. For this reason the bus could be up to 15 minutes late as an expectation.

Not all bus stops have a location id, even though there is a spot to put one. 

 The web 2.0 hasn't hit this transit. I can't tell when my bus will come via web site. They do have a stripped down version of the website which is nice. Trying to plan a trip is easier on the google than UTA.

When looking for credit card ticket machines they provide a nice "map it" link. However when you want to look at the sales outlet stores you get no link and must paste the address  into google. 

The passes are a complete joke. A cardboard pass is all you get for $78.5. No way to redeem your lost or stolen card of course. In Minneapolis they handout "debit card devices" I can then add  cash or monthly passes on these devices and then card readers on buses and trains read them. I can  replace my card if lost or stolen.

Not only does this cut down on administration costs, but  people board the bus faster. Its a win win situation that is so obvious many cities are doing it. Denver will be the next. When will UTA pull its head out of its ass and provide these simple changes many other cities already have?

Frequency is 15 minutes for trains and hour service for flex routes. The blue line's first run into Sandy is well past 6 AM   leaving me with a huge reroute or  to work latter.   On the flip side flex only runs until 7:30 PM. Trying to squeeze a 8 hour day in this time frame is difficult. Flex route doesn't even run on the weekend. With the price I pay the frequency is disappointing.

This pretty much sums up my first impression.