According to a survey commissioned by the Utah Transit Authority, its public image has improved slightly.
The survey shows that 68 percent of respondents have at least a somewhat favorable view of UTA.
Several years after coming under fire for large executive bonuses, UTA is still struggling with its public image. But board vice-chair Sherrie Hall Everett says the most recent results are encouraging.
“We have so many people that feel neutral or very positive about the agency even though we’ve had some issues that have been dealt with in the past,” Hall Everett said.
The UTA survey shows that overall, most respondents along the Wasatch Front had favorable impressions of TRAX and FrontRunner trains. Most people also indicated that they wanted expanded bus and rail service.
Board trustee Brent Taylor mentioned another poll regarding UTA’s public perception and published on Utah Policy in January 2016. It was conducted by the same research firm, Dan Jones & Associates, and shows that 50 percent of people approve of UTA’s performance—a difference of 18 percent.
“I mean no disrespect, but I have some serious questions about that,” said Taylor. “Which one is more reliable?”
A representative from Dan Jones & Associates was not at the meeting, but Bob Henrie with marketing firm R&R Partners attributed the difference primarily to the way the questions were posed.
“It was a different question,” Henrie told the board. “One asked about performance, and one asked about favorability impression.”
There was also a difference in the people surveyed: the Utah Policy poll was conducted statewide, while UTA surveyed only people along the Wasatch Front, where it operates.
Both surveys were conducted months before it was made public that the federal government is investigating UTA and former board members.