Tuesday, March 25, 2014

811TH POST: THE 811

I have to start this post with a confession: I know that the 811 used to go at least as far south as Spanish Fork, but I have no idea how; all I know is from after I started riding the bus in 2003.

I have to continue this post with a confession: I know that the 811 used to run one trip in the morning on Sundays from downtown Salt Lake to Sandy Civic Center, then continued the regular route.  But I forgot when I drew these (hopefully artfully) crude sketches and things have been a little topsy-turvy lately and I had to hijack the binder that had my route sketches in it for a recent musical endeavor and I honestly don't know where my sketches are and I'm really not feeling like looking for them right now.  So you get a sadly incomplete version of everything the 811 has ever done.  Sorry.  All three of the people who once caught the 811 from downtown Salt Lake at 8:36 in the morning are mad at me now.

The history of the 811 could be described in one word:


Once stretching from Spanish Fork to downtown Salt Lake (some old route signs still say "Utah County Salt Lake Shuttle," last time I checked), the 811 now stretches from Orem to Draper.  In the time that I have ridden it, the southern terminus of the 811 has moved from East Bay to downtown Provo to Canyon Road to UVU (!) and most recently back to the Transit Center.  The 811 used to be the fastest way from my apartment near the Provo Library to the Transit Center; alas, this is no more.  (Now it's the 830, which is a fair bit faster than it used to be . . .)  The northern terminus has likewise moved from Sandy to Draper recently (not that I would mind, if I still took the 811 regularly; that last stretch on State Street from Draper to Sandy was at times excruciatingly slow).

Dedicated transit freaks will also remember the 816, a hybrid of the 811 and 850 that used to get back to Provo after midnight--first six days a week, then only Saturdays, then quietly slipping out of existence around the time I moved right next to an 816 stop (the curse . . .).  The 811 still ran until 11:00 p.m. after that (you had to leave downtown Salt Lake at 8:45 p.m. to get home) until FrontRunner South happened; now FrontRunner runs pretty late, but the last 811 leaves Draper before 8:00 p.m. on weeknights.  As someone who rode the 811 many late nights, I can attest that this is probably okay: most people on the 811 that late at night were just trying to get across the county line.  However enticing State Street was in American Fork and Lehi, it just wasn't where most people were headed.

The 811 used to be crazy busy during the day when it was the only thing running between Salt Lake and Utah Counties and only ran once per hour.  I passed many a droll afternoon trying to read textbooks while standing and holding on to a bar with one hand as the bus driver whipped around the corners in the attempt to arrive at Sandy somewhere near the posted time.  In the couple of times I've ridden the 811 since FrontRunner South happened, it hasn't been very busy, which honestly isn't very surprising.  Recently though, stops have been added and a few new trips have popped up in the afternoon, which isn't really the sign of a route in a death spiral.  Interestingly enough, now that the Utah County expresses have gone the way of all the earth, the 811 is mostly MCI's.  That would have been nice back in the day . . . oh well . . .

Writing about the 811 has made me nostalgic for all those college commutes.  Maybe I should ride it one of these days for old times' sake--

Thursday, March 20, 2014


A while ago I was on the 205, just riding home from work, like I do.

The bus driver was making a reasonable attempt to be friendly, bidding each passenger a good day as they got off the bus.

Until one woman got off the bus.  The bus driver said, "Have a good day!" as she got off, and she didn't say anything; she just stared straight ahead, ignoring him completely.

After she got off and the doors were closed, the bus driver muttered, " . . . or not."  Several of us had a good chuckle.

Fairness requires the observation that she might have actually been having a really bad day.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Let's just say there's a certain bus stop on the 200 in front of the Murray City Offices where sometimes people get on with paper bags and when little kids ask their mothers what is in the bags the mothers say

not now, my dear


The other day, this happened (the first part; not necessarily the second) and when the two men got on with paper bags the bus driver said,

Got what you needed?

in a friendly enough voice, to which they were stonily silent.

In her defense, the bus driver was just trying to be sociable.  But in their defense, I don't know if I would have said anything, either.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


The next day as I was walking to the bus stop I noticed the toilet paper roll was gone, but now there was a large, cast-off twig with the last broken remains of a weathered garbage sack clinging to its prickly edges.

Coincidence?  Or the next installment in a series of found-object urban art pieces?  Only time will tell.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

807TH POST: THE 807

I first became acquainted with the 807 at a public hearing about the 807 and 808 and the 862.  I was mostly interested in the 808, and most of the people there were interested in the 862 (a fact that surprised me, as the 862 was really the runt of the pack back then; this was before we had certain other buses, about which I will discourse at greater length later).  But then there was an 807.  It wasn't really in my neck of the woods, but apparently it did well, as I heard other customers from time to time complain about park'n'ride lots being overcrowded and such.

Like the 805 and 806, the 807 was truncated but not eliminated when FrontRunner happened; stops at Adobe and I.M.Flash were added.  Since that day, the 807 has done . . . well and not well?  I'm not sure.  About half the trips have been cut since the change; on the other hand, this corridor has become more or less an all-day route with the addition of the F868 in the middle of the day.  Adding some UVU trips probably hasn't hurt, either. 

I can't say I've seen a lot of people getting on the 807 when I've seen it at Lehi station.  But there was this one time when I got on the 850 at Provo station and saw that the two people in front of me had passes that said "Adobe" when they scanned them.  Meaning, of course, that they must live in Provo, because it was shorter to catch FrontRunner down to Provo and catch the 850 back north than to just switch to the 850 at Lehi.  No, I didn't keep track; it was a full 850 and I'm not that creepy.

Prognosis: like the 806, the 807 is not currently the hope of the free world.  But it's here to stay.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

806TH POST: THE 806

The 806 was the last of the Utah County expresses to happen before FrontRunner came and took them all away (from Salt Lake--they're not ALL gone). Apparently the route did well enough that when FrontRunner happened the route got split into the 806 and 809, but then it didn't do well enough to stay that way: eight months later the two routes got combined back into the old 806 combination (which began running 4 trips a day each way instead of the 3 on the 806 and 809 before, or the 2 on the old 806--very devious).  More UVU trips also got added, which makes sense, if you think about it: if the bus has to go back to the garage anyway, it might as well carry some college students.

I've never ridden the 806, and I doubt I ever will.  What little reports I have heard suggest that the 806 isn't doing awesome, but it'll probably stick around.  The Lehi FrontRunner station is pretty busy at the right time of day, but I wouldn't bet on Eagle Mountain and Saratoga Springs' bright transit future involving frequent all-day bus service.