Utah Transit Authority

Courtesy wasatchweatherweenies.blogspot.com

Atmospheric scientists at the University of Utah have installed an air quality monitor on a Utah Transit Authority TRAX train. It’s helping them get a detailed picture of air pollution around the Salt Lake valley.

Garrett via Wikimedia Commons

David Burton, the former presiding Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was formally elected chairman of the Utah Transit Authority board yesterday.  He told reporters that a recent legislative audit criticizing the agency is a no longer a concern.

The audit, released in August criticized UTA for sweetheart deals, excessive pay and bonuses for top executives and insufficient service that disproportionately impacts the poor. But Burton says the concerns highlighted in the audit, have already been addressed.

Brian Grimmett

A group of people interested in seeing the Utah Transit Authority expand the hours its buses and trains operates recently challenged the UTA Board of Trustees and leadership to use only public transit for seven days. For the few who accepted the challenge the experience had quite an impact.

Brian Grimmett

Republican state Senator Todd Weiler is asking the Attorney General’s office to take a closer look at a development deal involving the Utah Transit Authority, after an audit indicated a possible lack of proper oversight.

  Utah Governor Gary Herbert thinks the Utah Transit Authority is running better than it has in past years, even after another critical audit came out this week.

Governor Herbert was asked about the legislative audit at his monthly news conference on KUED.  It pointed out conflicts with developers controlled by UTA board members receiving money for transit-oriented building projects and again said that the agency’s top managers are getting salary and benefit packages higher than comparable jobs in Utah.

Utah Transit Authority

The general manager of the Utah Transit Authority is defending the high salaries paid to executives as money well spent.  That comes after another critical audit of the agency from the legislative auditor general.

The audit released Tuesday says UTA’s top managers are comparing their compensation to the wrong standard – other public transit agencies from around the country.  It says the Utah Department of Transportation and the Salt Lake City Airport Authority might be better benchmarks.

An all-electric bus stopped in Salt Lake City Monday on a demonstration tour around the US. The Utah Transit Authority is looking at the bus for possible future use.

There are a few things you notice right away on board the latest model of Proterra’s 40-foot battery-powered electric bus. The driver controls are minimal, there’s a back window that let’s in more light… and it’s quiet. Matt Horton, the VP of Sales for Proterra Incorporated gives me his pitch in under 15 seconds.

Ricardo630 via Wikimedia Commons

The board that oversees the Utah Transit Authority decided on Wednesday how much money will go into next year’s employee pay-for-performance program. While more UTA employees will get bonuses next year, individual payouts will likely be smaller. 

The agency will divide more than $1.9 million dollars between eligible employees in 2015, compared to last year’s $1.74 million dollars. UTA Spokesman Remi Barron says the 2013 was successful for UTA and its employees. 

The Utah Transit Authority is moving forward with installation of surveillance cameras on buses despite the transit union’s claim that the move is a violation of the collective bargaining agreement.

UTA officials say they are spending more than 2 million dollars to install surveillance cameras in a fleet of 600 buses in order to improve passenger safety and transit efficiency. Attorney Joseph Hatch represents the transit union. He says drivers should have a say in how these cameras are used.

Transit Ridership Jumps

Mar 10, 2014
Utah Transit Authority

Americans are using public transit more than ever. And Utahns are part of that trend.

A new report says Americans took a record 10.7 billion trips last year on public transportation. The Utah Transit Agency has seen a similar trend. Its trains, buses and trolleys logged 44 million trips last year -- more than ever before.

  American Fork resident Greg Davidson rides the new FrontRunner line from where he lives in Utah County into Salt Lake City a few times a month. Today he’s headed to the airport on the new TRAX line.

Utah Transit Authority

The Utah House passed a bill Friday to allow communities to raise local sales tax rates to pay for transit projects. Supporters say it would help clean up Utah’s air.

Utah’s clean air advocates like the Quarter for Clean Air bill. So do local communities that would like revenue to put more buses on the road and expand service hours. Justin Jones is communications director for the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce. He says Utah’s business sees it as an important keep Utah growing wisely.

Utah Transit Authority fare increases took effect today; much to the chagrin of riders. It was the last in a series of increases UTA approved in 2011. 

There are few certainties in life. But one thing is clear; no one likes to see prices go up. Mia Mora uses public transportation a few days a week. She says the 15 cent hike won’t price her out of a commute.

“As long as it doesn’t get any higher than that," she says. "But if they keep raising it….”

Mora says she already struggles to afford a day pass or multiple transfers.

Bob Nelson

The Utah Foundation’s annual meeting Thursday deals with two traditionally conflicting issues facing Utahns, education and transportation. The foundation organizes the Utah Priorities Project along with the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah. Stephen Kroes , the president of the Utah Foundation says conflicts between education and transportation going forward need to end.

Utahns are well-acquainted with the dirty air lurking beyond their front doors in a winter inversion or summer ozone day.  A long string of unhealthy air days this winter has many residents saying "enough". Today KUER News and RadioWest begin “Clearing the Air,” a special series aimed at exploring the problem of Utah’s poor air quality and ways to improve it.  One of the contributing factors is car emissions, but is public transit a viable option for those living on the Wasatch Front? Can people use their cars less without compromising their lifestyle?