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.


  1. Change day never gets old!

    > Flex routes really got bolstered this time around. Cool.
    > The 516. Hmm. Wonder if it would have made more sense for it to end at 900 South TRAX. In any event, that segment of 9th West has some pretty decent transit service now.
    > Overjoyed to see the demise of data-driven timepoints. Just look at the 213. The first inbound trip has had sixteen minutes shaved off of it. And the 217. I took the last inbound 217 a few weeks ago and we held for time at every. single. timepoint. For at least a minute and a half each time. That was maddening, to say the least.
    > Hurrah for extra 218 evening trip, I guess.
    > The transfer from the Green Line to FrontRunner has gone from something really great to something pretty mediocre.
    > What they did to the 830 is a start! Though the whole Saturday mess from FrontRunner to the 830 at Provo is still pretty egregious. I get why it is the way it is. But still.
    > The hundreds of people needing to get to Pleasant View at 3 in the morning will be happy. Too bad about that 9:09 trip out of Ogden, though.

    Also, here's some good old-fashioned UTA hearsay: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showpost.php?p=6491882&postcount=5486

    1. The 516 will leave before those from Ogden arrive. Looks like walking will be faster than waiting for 209 or 6. The Green line looks better for those from Ogden to the Airport and State Offices. Change day is never dull.

    2. Glad you brought the 209 up. With all due respect to UTA, the 209 represents everything that's wrong with UTA's scheduling practices. For starters, I think this is the sixth or seventh consecutive change day in which the 209 has been involved. What's worse: since December 2012, the departure time of the 209 at North Temple (at night) has gone from :14 to :10 to :00 back to :10 and now to :15. As stated, transfers from FrontRunner will now range between 12 (southbound, assuming FR arrives at :03) and 21 minutes (northbound, assuming FR arrives at :54). Yeah, that makes sense. Quite ironic that the change day flier states that the purpose of the change is to improve the connection to FrontRunner. And what about the twenty minutes the 209 gets outbound to go from 5600 South to TRAX? It really never needs more than twelve or thirteen minutes—and that's on a bad day. It's really supremely frustrating and nonsensical. And yeah, what's with the 6? Sigh.

      One bit of good news, I guess: the 45/228. After almost two years of running 15/45-minute service on 4500 South in the middle of the day, the route overlay is finally being standardized to run 30 minutes mid-day. About time.

    3. Sorry I'm late. Also, Change Day!

      ~ Pity about North Temple. The bus connections at North Temple have never really been what we wanted them to be . . . personally I never wait for a bus at North Temple if I can help it. It just makes me annoyed. One time this bus driver was even trying to be all nice, like "What bus are you waiting for? Can I give you directions to anywhere?" and I was trying really hard not to say, "Just let me stand here and be annoyed, mmmkay?" I'm afraid that the 209's already difficult schedule has been further complicated by the need to also switch with every other bus at North Temple. As for the 20-minute long timepoint on Winchester, I have heard that it is so the bus drivers can use the bathroom at IHOP--several bus drivers certainly have gotten off and gone to the bathroom there while I was on the bus. Apparently, except for the brief time between when Harmon's opened downtown and when the North Temple FrontRunner station opened, there was no good place to go the the bathroom on either end of the 209 (may I take this moment to casually wish for bathrooms at TRAX stations? Okay, thank you.) There is a porta-potty waaaaay in the back at North Temple, but personally I'd rather go to the bathroom at IHOP. I don't really appreciate the bus driver getting off in the middle of the route to do it, but I suppose it's better than the driver having to pee behind the bus at Midvale Center, as apparently got covered in the news a few years ago (bathrooms at TRAX stations? Okay, thank you.)

    4. ~ I'm glad to see the 213 and 217 getting tightened up, though the data boy in me (they call me "DB" at work; *hangs head in shame*) hopes it means better data, rather than the demise of data. I can think of a few other places that could probably stand a little tightening, like the 21 and the 200 at 21st South State. I recognize that a lot of these routes were late beyond all reason before, but hopefully there is room for the pendulum to swing back a little in the future.

      ~ I'd love to know how the 217 is after 11:00 p.m. Wild transit party, anyone?

      ~ I'm tickled, of course, that the change to the 830 schedule in the evening matches the one I suggested heretofore in the comments on this blog. Of course, I said then that that was the only possible solution I saw without fundamentally changing the 830 (again . . .), so it's probably not too surprising that UTA "happened" upon the same solution. I don't think the connections with the southbound 830 can be salvaged, though; the 830 southbound is and always has been longer than the northbound (left turns out of the Transit Center. They matter.), and it just doesn't fit. I weep.

    5. ~ And how about those flex routes? They seem to be adding more service than anybody these days. I'm glad to see the F570 and F578 going into Bingham Junction; unlike when it opened, Bingham Junction is not in the middle of an empty field, but pedestrian access out of the station to the north remains horrifically bad. It's also interesting to watch the flex route service in Southern Salt Lake County/Northern Utah County coalescing into more defined corridors, like the F514 (now called "300 West Flex" but with the same route number) or the F590 following the 232 route between Jordan Valley Station and the SLCC Jordan Campus. We are watching new bus service form before our eyes. Very cool.

      ~ I almost forgot: I have an opinion about the new 516. I have an opinion about everything. I think the 516 goes to 21st rather than 9th because there is no bridge at 9th over the railroad tracks, and the 516 is late enough as it is. That, or there is just more going on at 21st than at 9th. Like places to go the bathroom? Okay, thank you.

      There. I'm all opinioned out for the night.

    6. I can only imagine what change day talk will be like once the good-for-nothing (okay, waxing a little emotional right now) state senate can get their act together and pass whatever HB388's successor ends up being.

      # Okay. Look, the most frustrating thing about the North Temple connections is that you have trains departing in both directions only two minutes apart. It should be exquisitely, delightfully easy to at least coordinate connections from the bus to the train if not the other way around. But let's look at the 6. On Saturdays, it has an enchanting forty-minute transfer with FrontRunner. What is one to do if one lives in the Avenues and wants to go to FrontRunner, then? The 3? Nope, subpar connection at Central there too. The 209, which at least straddles the southern periphery of the Avenues? Welp, come change day a great transfer turns into a mediocre (albeit better than the 3 or the 6) connection. Considering it rarely takes the 209 more than seven minutes to get from Harmons to FrontRunner on Saturdays, you're looking at a peachy twenty-minute wait.

      I just don't get it. I mean, it's really so easy for me to comment on all of this without full knowledge of all the factors going into each route's schedule. And almost always I can see where UTA is coming from when Claire Geddes, Drew Chamberlain, and Lee Davidson spout their nonsense. But I feel like all the interlining in the world shouldn't prevent decent connections. The end result is a neighborhood like the Avenues, a transit conducive area, with not one single route that gives them a semi-decent connection to commuter rail on Saturdays.

      # The other thing about the 209, and just schedules in general, is that a route that changes every four (or, in the case of last year, two) months will drive people away. It's major whiplash to have your connection go from a two minute wait, to a thirty-second wait (if you're lucky and sprint), to a fifteen-minute wait, to a two-minute wait, and back to a fifteen-minute wait all in the span of a year or two. In the case of the 209, most of these adjustments have been utterly unnecessary (and, in the case of this change, detrimental). Now that UTA is done with major rail expansion for the time being, I hope they can move toward saving major schedule changes for one change day per year and minor, one- to two-minute timepoint shifts for the other changes. Because consistency is majorly important.

      # Nice tildes. My hashes are better.

      # Good point about data. But, seriously: why would the first inbound trip on the 213 get the most time of all trips to get from one EOL to the other? There has to be a happy medium.

      # The 217? Not out of the ordinary, even that late at night. Although west side routes have always attracted a saltier demographic than those on the east side. Anyway, I wondered if anyone else was glorying in the fact that they were sitting in a UTA bus so late at night. Yup. Also, felt bad for the driver. . . She looked visibly annoyed every time the red "HOLD FOR TIME" box would illuminate the screen, which was a lot of times.

      # Did anyone ever think we'd see service like this? Maybe we should make the 223 a flex route. . .

      # Did not even consider that about the 516. That's absolutely right. Puts a wrench in my idea of one day combining the 9 and the 516. . .

      Okay. That's enough for now.

    7. Oh, the routes in the image should be F504 and F518. My mistake.

    8. $ Honestly I was surprised that SB388 got as far as it did, what with all the negative publicity UTA has gotten in the past year or so (I think dollar signs are an appropriate bullet point here). I'm pretty sure the issue will come up again next year, and I wouldn't be surprised if in the next couple of years something similar to SB388 gets passed. Of course, when I think about more transit money, I try to think of the most unglamorous things I can, like putting the 9 and 17 back on 30-minute service all day . . . not as cool as the Black Line, certainly, but important if the bus system is ever to really work with TRAX and FrontRunner.

      $ I have had the opposite problem with the 200 as people are having with the 209: the 200 schedule keeps changing, but no matter how much it goes back and forth, the 200 inbound always seems to be pulling out of Murray Central right as FrontRunner pulls in. The transfer has ranged from one minute to eight minutes to fourteen minutes back down to three minutes, but my experience has been the same--goodbye, fair 200 . . .

      I think only having big changes once a year is a good idea. I nominate August change day, since that's when lots of people start riding for the new school year, and won't remember exactly what the old schedule was like (well, MOST of them won't). That way you also wouldn't have to worry about figuring out your new transfers in the snow and cold of December. I have gently suggested to UTA since the FrontRunner South opening that they should only ever open new lines in April or August from now on, so that my toes don't start hurting from the cold like they did in January of 2013. I'm just full of bright ideas. Oh well . . .

      $ I think the 223 as a flex route isn't a bad idea; also, the 227, 232, 248, 833, 836, 842 . . . I should probably stop.

      $ Maybe someday I'll ride the last 217 of the night. For research purposes, of course. But I'll have to find somewhere to stay--it's a VERY long walk from Redwood to my apartment!

      $ Don't give up on the 9 and the 516; the last few years have proven that anything is possible . . .