The long-anticipated Utah Transit Authority Provo to Salt Lake FrontRunner will open to the public next weekend, but members of the media were invited to climb aboard this morning for a test ride.
The smooth ride is accompanied by a surprisingly remarkable view of the low lands adjacent to the Jordan River. The trip takes about an hour each way.
Paul O'brien is the rail service general manager. He prides the FrontRunner south line on expanding service hours to Provo beyond what the current express buses provide and creating options for a faster trip as well.
"FrontRunner going south also will have a direct connection to Trax in Murray," O'Brien says. "So we anticipate people will be able to move between TRAX and Frontunner easily by that Murray connection.”
UTA officials expect to carry 6,000 to 7,000 riders per day. They’re not sure how many of those riders will be new bodies but estimate 30 percent of those using the FrontRunner system intend to travel beyond Salt Lake City to the north or south.
Steve Meyer is the chief capital development officer for UTA. He’s excited about the opportunity to link colleges and universities along the corridor.
“We really are going to help the students connect," Meyer says. "If they needed to take some specialty classes at one school or another they can quickly move and use transit to make that connection.”
The $850 million project will create about 60 new jobs.
To introduce riders to the new line, UTA is offering free rides Saturday December 8th from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.