Tuesday, October 1, 2013

THE PROVO-OREM FRONTRUNNER MISSER

I was looking at bus schedules in Provo the other day, for fun, and also because I have been idly entertaining the idea of going to the fundraising barbecue for Civil Engineering alumni, which I totally am now.

I was forced to confront the fact that if you are at BYU in the evening and trying to get to Salt Lake County, the 830 is not the bus for you:

FrontRunner: Leaves Provo Station at :20 and :50 after
Route 830: Arrives at Provo Station at :21 and :51 after

FrontRunner: Leaves Orem Station at :28 and :58 after
Route 830: Arrives at Orem Station at :30 and :00 after

Your shortest possible wait is 28 minutes, with a bus that comes every 30 minutes at that time of night. I suppose it is possible that FrontRunner could be behind and you could squeak onto the train if the 830 was right on time. But those kinds of things only work when you're sitting at the station watching the bus pull in, not when you're actually ON the bus. Years of experience have borne me out on this one.

WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY,

you may ask, does the bus do this? I wondered this myself for a while, until I studied it from the other direction:

FrontRunner: Arrives at Provo Station at :12 and :42 after
Route 830: Leaves Provo Station at :22 and :52 after

FrontRunner: Arrives at Provo Station at :05 and :35 after
Route 830: Leaves Orem Station at :10 and :40 after

Lovely transfers, particularly in Provo. Clearly, the transfer is meant for people going home to Provo in the evenings, not the other way around. I grant that this is probably quite a few more people, and that this is the way the bus service has always been (the 801, 802, 803, 804, 805, 806, 807, and 810 all went to Salt Lake in the morning and back to Provo in the afternoon, but the 817 was the only express that went the other way), but it's sounds like a nightmare for people who have to regularly go north in the evenings.

The only way I could see to address the problem is to push the northbound trips back (leave at :17 and :47 after); then you would get to Orem at :25 and :55 after, giving you 3 minutes to scamper across the the bus lane, hunt for the stairs, give up and clamber up the side of the platform on the other side, and run onto the FrontRunner platform, which is possible if the bus is right on time (hahaha, I kill myself). I can respect UTA wanting one good transfer instead of two bad ones, I guess. The 830 is just the wrong length to make both transfers work with one bus.

It bears mentioning that if you are trying to get off either University campus by 8:30 p.m. you can catch the 831 (from UVU north) or the 832 (from BYU south) and make it to the train very nicely. But as neither the 831 nor the 832 is the 830, people will probably never catch on to this. Seriously, though; the 831 connected BYU and UVU for 12 years, and the most people I ever saw make that trip with me was 2, even though it took the 831 almost exactly the same amount of time and you could totally have a seat to yourself, even when BYU was a thing.

I guess if I stay out later than 8:30, I'll have to bring a book. Or some flour.

2 comments:

  1. This is a common UTA 'strategy.' The wife and I went to Lagoon on Frontrunner several times this year and the farmington shuttle in the evening always drops you off right after the last one went by. Waiting 88 minutes for the next FR is a little much, I think.

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    1. Yeah, that bites. I couldn't venture to guess what the rationale is there. Though it would only be 58 minutes nowadays . . .

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