Tuesday, January 21, 2014

LEAP OF FAITH

It sure seems like people are talking about inversions a lot the last few years. Many people would like to cast all the blame on local industries for polluting the air with their noxious emissions. Many others, correctly in my estimation, have realized that automobile emissions make up a large part of the sickly haze, and tout the benefits of taking transit, if only transit weren’t so deplorable around here.

Oh, transit.  Why do you have to be so deplorable?

In my opinion, there needs to be a little less hand-wringing about how inconvenient transit is, and a little more hand-wringing about children getting respiratory infections every winter; a little less trying to blame corporations and the government, and a little more personal initiative.

Please understand that I know whereof I speak: I experience firsthand the inconveniences of transit every day. And I’m not talking about FrontRunner being 5 minutes late, either; I’m talking about how the 831 used to come every 90 minutes and the 822 every 120 minutes on Saturdays, meaning there were exactly two times a day when they actually matched up; I’m talking about spending the night at my ex’s house because I missed the last bus down to Provo; I’m talking about walking over a mile to the grocery store on a Saturday night to pick up some pre-Sabbath essentials because the last 45 was at 7:37 p.m. I do or have done all these things, and I’m not dead. A little walking or a little waiting won’t kill most other people, either.

I recognize that there needs to be more transit: more coverage, more frequent service, earlier and later hours; and that there are people who simply cannot meet their transportation needs with UTA’s current system. But the fact remains that there are many people who live near established transit corridors that drive to work during rush hour, some of whom already have access to free or discounted passes from their employer.

You want transit to get better? Take it. The more people ride transit, the more it will grow. I say this in defiance of the mantra of “service cuts, service cuts, service cuts” that UTA has adopted in recent years—but keep in mind that almost every transit agency in the United States that depends on sales tax has had to make service cuts in recent years; UTA has at the same time opened six rail projects. Can you imagine how it would feel if UTA had cut 10% of their bus service and NOT added any other service anywhere? Transit will grow. Even the bus service will grow again.

It takes a leap of faith for people to take existing transit service; it takes a leap of faith for UTA to put more transit service in. Unless you work for UTA, you only control one of those. UTA took quite the leap in the last few years building all the new lines. Your turn.

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