During these times when the news from the federal government is "mildly disconcerting" at best, it's good to know some good things are going on around here, for transit riders anyway:
The Salt Lake City resident pass.
Doesn't this trip your conservative Republican circuits at all, Busninja? Well, no, not any more than decades of road construction at taxpayer expense does. But all those roads weren't bad, were they? No, and neither is Salt Lake City selling bus passes for $30 per month. This is a great boon for the less-well-to-do in Salt Lake whose alleged mistreatment by UTA has been the source of so much useless invective on local comment boards lately. If the program takes off in Salt Lake, it will assuredly spread to West Valley City, who is currently chasing after UTA
and asking through their tears why they didn't get to do it first. Add in South Salt Lake and Millcreek (who am I kidding--nothing will ever happen in Millcreek) and the vast majority of Salt Lake county's transit dependent will have access to a very affordable transit pass. I'll be curious to see what effect this has on service in Salt Lake City, as in
If this program does lead to more service, there are people itching to leave their cars behind. We'd love to. Things can only get better from there. Of course, for people who don't want to leave their cars behind and only want to ride transit sometimes, there's
UTA's new Farepay card.
I'm glad Utah is finally joining the rest of the civilized world with prepaid transit cards. I can't think of any other activity I do on a regular basis that requires me to fish change out of my pockets, nay, carry change around with me in the first place. I have seen hundreds, nay, thousands of people get left by trains while they are frantically trying to read the screen on the ticket machines, or banging on them with their clenched fists because they aren't working. Every time commutergirl and I go somewhere with friends or family we end up driving because we're generally the only ones with transit passes and everyone else doesn't feel like springing for a $2.50 transit ticket. We're planning on having a couple of Farepay cards lying around for such an occasion:
THEM: Let's go do something fun that Mormons can do!
US: Cool. Let's take TRAX.
THEM: Erm, errrrrrrrm, we would, you know we would, we're all cool with trains and stuff, but it's $2.50 . . .
US: Guys, just use this card, OK? Our gift to you tonight.
THEM: OK, wow, you guys are the best friends ever.
or something like that.
I think this is a great idea and opens up transit use to a lot of people for whom a monthly pass doesn't make financial sense. The fact that it's going out at a discount right now is just gravy. It's something any sane person would want to take advantage of. Any sane person that doesn't already get an insanely discounted pass from their employer, anyway. Which brings me, more or less, to
A moment of sanity at the Trib, however brief.
Today's Farepay story didn't attract any comments for a couple of hours, and I was hopeful that the all-caps haters would leave it alone. Unfortunately, one did not. But fortunately, someone else narrowly beat me to leaving an articulate, reasonable reply. And the article about the Salt Lake resident pass was a veritable fête champêtre of reason and cordiality, with a couple of commenters even stating that UTA should get the sales tax increase, and clarifying that it was not an increase, but a redistribution of the current sales tax income (all of which is public knowledge, and was at the time the Trib was trying to slam UTA by misrepresenting it). Either someone has been forgetting to send out the mass email to all the haters lately or my favorite Trib reporter finally got in trouble for asking all his relatives and co-workers to comment on his stories so that he doesn't get laid off; either way, I'm glad for the respite.
Things are looking up in the transit world lately. Now if the Feds will get over themselves, we'll all be able to sleep better at night.