DAVE & DUJANOVIC

UTA boss talks about train delays, says improvements coming

Feb 20, 2024, 6:00 PM | Updated: Feb 21, 2024, 9:22 am

UTA Frontrunner commuter rail. UTA Plans to address delays by updating cars and adding a new line t...

UTA Frontrunner commuter rail train (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

(Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Despite delays, UTA has a 90 percent on-time record, says its executive director, adding changes, including a new light-rail line, are on the way to reduce wait times.

In a study at the University of California at Berkley, researchers discovered that commuters are more inclined to stop using public transit if they experience delays which can be blamed on the transit agency. (Most people will forgive other inconveniences such as traffic, emergencies or mechanical failures.)                                                                                                                — Ecolane

UTA boss touts 90% on-time record

UTA Executive Director Jay Fox joins Dave and Debbie to answer the question: What’s up with all the delays?

Since Jan.15, Debbie says she has been keeping a scorecard based on text alerts she gets from UTA about TRAX line delays; they’re so frequent she’s had to put her goal of traveling more on TRAX in 2024 on hold.

She said she had to give up public transit because the delays kept her from showing up on time to her job as a reporter who is responsible for meeting daily deadlines.

“I totally get the frustration on delays because I ride TRAX. I ride FrontRunner, so I’m a customer, too,” Fox said. “The good thing is that 90% of the time, we’re on time. The hard side for customers is when that 10% hits, it could create delays.”

Upgrade for Blue Line

Fox said this year, UTA will launch a new passenger-information display system, replacing all the old displays at TRAX stations and giving riders real-time information.

To help eliminate delays, Fox said the oldest train cars in the system are scheduled to be replaced.

“The cool thing that we’re going to do is we’re going to be replacing all of our Blue Line vehicles. Those are our oldest vehicles and that will give us a fully level boarding system. And that is a big cause for delays that we’re responsible for,” he said.

A delay on the Blue Line can cascade across the Red and Green lines when they all share the same set of tracks.

Coming: Orange Line

Fox also said the light-rail system will be adding a new line.

“It’s an Orange Line, which would go from the airport all the way up to the university but it would also reroute traffic off of Main Street through The Granary District.

“You have five stations right now that have all three lines going through [downtown]. That would go down to two, so that’s going to help reduce delay.”

Delays seem to stack up during peak times

 Although it may seem like delays cluster at peak times, they happen throughout the day, Fox said. Peak times also see the most cars, trucks and pedestrians.

“We have cars that actually end up on our tracks and have to be pulled out. I mean that can cause a significant delay, extracting it,” Fox said,. 

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UTA boss talks about train delays, says improvements coming