Tuesday, August 26, 2008

the good thing about high gas prices

(Photo Credit: Al Hartmann/The Salt Lake Tribune)
"Typically, the first three days of back to school are always a little crazy," [UTA spokeswoman Carrie] Bohnsack-Ware said, "until people find the schedule that works best for them and people settle into their routines."
This year, though, the [University of Utah ("the U.")] is trying to boost the ranks of students riding buses and trains with the passes they can get after paying tuition and fees. The school is expecting a surge, thanks to the run-up in gasoline prices and the first increase in campus parking fees in seven years.
Daily campus ridership could reach as high as 16,000 this year, but officials need to complete parking surveys and obtain UTA ridership figures before reaching any conclusions.
"We anticipate an increase of 15 to 20 percent," said Norm Chambers, the U.'s vice president for auxiliary services. "Right now it's more an intuition until we get some more data."
During my three years at the U. I never bought a parking pass and drove near campus maybe a half dozen times. Parking is horrific, the passes are going up 20 percent a year, the TRAX/Bus passes are free, and gas is expensive. Plus getting into a really hot or cold car sucks. Unless you live out of range of public transit, why wouldn't you take FrontRunner or TRAX or a bus or car pool?


Clint Gardner said...

Being a long-time mass transit commuter, I will say that there has been a marked increase in ridership this summer. The trains and buses are packed to the gills. UTA should be flush with money these days, given the fuel surcharge and the rate increases. That, of course, lays on the backs of UTA patrons. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing, but one would hope that our government overlords (only half-kidding there) could see past the front of their Escalades and understand that publicly funded mass transit is not "socialism" nor "welfare" but a solid, commonsense approach to transit, anymore than funding ginormous freeway systems of the past. Getting people to their place of work or where they wish to spend their hard-earned cash is essential to a healthy economy. Creating transit options that are thrifty, environmentally sound, and won't destroy our children's future are tantamount. It is time to severely curtail the wasteful boondoggle that is our publicly funded (welfare anyone?) road system. We need to focus on transportation methods that are sustainable, and, I might add, more human. We need to realize that we're not just automatons driving in our self-contained motive units and connect with people again.

Woo hoo, I think this version of the comment was better! OK, I went a bit off the deep end on the last sentence, but what the heck.

Congratulations again on your new child. Here's to having a better world for her or him!

SLC Mama said...

I usually walk to work, but was running late so I decided to take the Trax. There were easily 50 people (10 with bikes) on the 900 East and 400 South platform. When the doors opened, it was insane -- a literal sardine can. I got on the steps with the 5 that were already there when the train stopped, with only the door to hold me in place. Somehow others managed to get on the train, but as we pulled away I noticed about 30 who couldn't fit were left to catch the next one.