For students commuting from north of the main campus in Orem, this means a significantly shorter commute. Many students have found that this new means of public transportation opens more possibilities. Wilmer Sandoval relies on the UTA system and has found himself taking more spontanious trips to see his friends in Salt Lake City. Sandoval lives at wolverine crossing right by the Orem station.
But students are not the only ones using the tracks. Professors are also taking advantage of this new convinience. Baldomero Lago, chair of the language department is new to using UTA but has become a morning regular on the FrontRunner.
FrontRunner’s travel time from Salt Lake Central to Orem is approximately 50 minutes, followed by a short bus ride from the train station to campus. Before the opening of this FrontRunner line, commuters traveling from the same place could plan on approximately two hours from Salt Lake City to UVU’s main campus.
Lago commutes from near Murray, a few stops from Orem, and has two complaints. He says the train has not been on time in the mornings, leaving him in the cold for longer than neccesary. Lago also says that during the main commuting times in the morning, those who get off the train in Orem won’t all fit on one bus, leaving many again waiting for fifteen minutes for the next bus to campus.
Lago is not the only one with complaints about late trains. UTA has earned a reputation for being undependable, with habitually late buses and mechanical problems on TRAX. FrontRunner is proving to be no exception.
Monday, Jan. 14, the southbound FrontRunner was more than 30 minutes late, and, according to a UTA employee, the delay was due to below-freezing temperatures. Jan. 3, a train was stuck on the tracks without power and without access to a stop where passengers could be bussed away to comfort. They could only wait until the train was able to continue. Lago was on the train that night and reported it to be a long night, taking two and a half hours to get home to Murray.
Even with his complaints, Lago still finds the train to be a great way to get to work. He gets the student discount, which is hard to pass up.
UVU offers students and faculty annual passes at a significantly discounted price. An annual pass may be purchased at Campus Connection for fifty dollars and is valid for one academic year, from Sept. 1 through Aug. 31.
While using the FrontRunner offers freedom from campus parking, free WiFi, tables, electrical outlets and a restroom located on the southern car of each train, there seem to be things that don’t go according to plan. But Lago and many others will continue to use it, as it provides many economic benefits.
For additional information on FrontRunner times and fares, or to plan a trip, visit rideuta.com.
By Kate Ayer, firstname.lastname@example.org