Saturday, July 26, 2014

834TH POST: THE 834

Say!  Here is something new!

I wish I had eleven, too! And, for once, I'm not talking about a bus route.
A bus route that hasn't changed its route since it was born!

Also maybe the simplest route to draw ever.
I take this to mean that the 834 is doing the best of all the "little routes" that were created when FrontRunner South happened back in December 2012.  (Though the 842 hasn't changed either, but seriously, have you ridden the 842? More on that later.)  I have ridden the 834 a handful of times since then, and it's rather a charming little route.  It was fun to see all the places where there weren't bus stops before and see people getting on and off there--I myself have used the stop at 3700 North once, though I almost perished climbing the hill up into the neighborhood.

(I may not be in the greatest of shapes right now, but I maintain that that hill could slay even a practicing triathlete, if only briefly.)

Uncuriously unbusy were the stops in front of Raintree and Wyview. Back when the 832 stopped there and BYU was a thing, those stops were the scene of much merriment and conscientious usage of transportation on the part of BYU students.  Now they feel curiously out of place, as though having a stop there is a formality, a memorial of the old transit service, may it rest in peace.

The only things keeping the 834 from being my favorite bus are that it only comes once per hour and only runs until 6:30 p.m. No more late evenings at Borders for me!

(I realize that it's no longer a Borders; I realize that nobody from BYU would have any reason to ride the bus to Riverwoods anymore; I realize that I no longer live in Provo and would personally have no reason to ride the bus to Riverwoods anymore; but that last sentence is still true. I enjoyed my late evenings at Riverwoods when I was single and no one loved me.)

I don't worry about the 834 the way I do about some of the routes in Utah County, but it still has a ways to go before reaching the glory (or past glory) of other routes in the region. Of course I'll be fascinated to see what happens.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

833TH POST: THE 833

Sorry--Did I say the 832 was a mess?

Provo College.  Provo LDS Temple I.  Provo LDS Temple II. 7th East. 9th East. The Provo FrontRunner Station.  The Orem FrontRunner Station.  The Timpanogos Transit Center.  Raintree.  Wyview.  7 Peaks. BYU. The 833 has, at one time or another, gone to all these places.  And it has, at one time or another, not gone to each of them.


Even when BYU was a thing, and the 833 went to BYU, it sat rather oddly among its busier counterparts.  There were only a couple of times of day when the 833 was anything approximating full, and even then it didn't have a patch on the 832's crowd of screaming freshmen (Fairness requires the observation that for a short time the 833 did run past 7 Peaks, according to the old map in the basement of the house I used to live in, and ran for several years past Raintree and Wyview directly, though UTA wisely put both these areas on the more frequent, later-running 832, which is most of what caused the 832 to be such a crazy ride).  Back when I used to catch the last 833 home from the temple at 7:58 p.m., I would be surprised to find more than about 3 people on it--I was, occasionally, surprised, but not too often.

When FrontRunner South happened, most of the places people actually took the 833 went to the 832 (and have stayed there, in one form or another), and the new 833 was basically the part of the old 833 nobody took.  Which, I suppose, is why nobody seems to take the 833 these days.  I haven't taken it, and I can't honestly say I've seen anybody on it when it pulls out of Provo Station (though I haven't looked super closely; there were probably a couple of people sitting in the back that I couldn't see).

We'll have to see if the proposed addition of the Provo Airport to the route will attract a few more people (more likely it will be UVU students going to the fire academy building-whatever over there than actual people taking the bus out to the airport, for now).  The fact that the route has already changed several times since 2012 suggests that it is hovering perilously near extinction--but all I'll say for now is, we'll have to see.

Monday, July 7, 2014

832TH POST: THE 832

Those of you that have taken transit in Utah County in the last few years, or have read about transit in Utah County in the news in the last few years, or have vicariously taken transit in Utah County through the regular perusal of this blog in the last few years, know that transit in Utah County in the last few years has been the agony and the ecstasy of transit.  Don't get me started about the BYU thing again.  FrontRunner came on the scene about a year-and-a-half ago, opening bold new frontiers of car-free travel even as it broke many fans' (and now, former fans') hearts by never coming when it was supposed to and missing all the transfers except the ones that really weren't meant to be transfers (every time I went to Provo for the first two months of FrontRunner South, the only bus that was waiting at the station for me was the 831, which was supposed to be fifteen minutes off the Provo Station arrivals so it could hook up with Orem Station instead.  But it accidentally was the only thing you could transfer to if the train was ten or fifteen minutes late).  The crazy expresses from all over the county got replaced with sedate new local routes that, well . . . I'll come up with tactful ways to put it in the next few posts.

But of all the things that have changed in Utah County in the last few years, the 832 is sort of the poster child for how things have gone.  Just look at this mess:

I once had the 832 described to me at a public hearing as "probably the most efficient route in the entire system, per trip," and I believe it.  Back when this blog started and I always caught the 831 home from BYU campus, I always used to watch the 832 pull up several minutes before the 831 was due, load up with inordinate numbers of college students, then pull slowly away up the hill from the weight of all the bodies inside.  I used to count how many people got on each bus (there; I still do that now, just not at BYU anymore) and it was not uncommon for the 832 to have five times as many people board as the 831.  Then, as I will not visit again in this post, the BYU transit situation rather spectacularly imploded.

When FrontRunner South opened, the 832 changed a bit--it no longer went directly past the student housing areas that had once filled it to the brim; weirdly, you could always get a seat all to yourself, even during the height of rush hour.  The most recent change (leading to the route shown on the artfully crude sketch above) was to add the old 830 route though Old Mill and Carriage Cove so that the 830 could pretend to be the BRT route.  As far as I can tell, this added more people on the bus but also made it so that the 832 doesn't go anywhere in a straight line.  This would be helped out a lot if the bus could just go straight down 9th East instead of making an outrageous loop clear around the outside of BYU Campus, but, as a few residents of the Tree Streets have taught us, sending the bus up that stretch of 9th East would bring the demise of the traditional family, the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, and the ascendancy of Vladimir Putin as world emperor.  Better not do it.

(Never mind that the 830 already runs up and down that stretch of 9th East every 15 minutes all day long)

Finally, we now have good reason to believe that the 832 will change yet again, this time to go to many more student housing areas than it currently does, including Wyview and 450 North as well as Old Mill and Carriage Cove.  I found some pictures a while back (I didn't make it to the public hearing), but I'm not sure where to find them again--the change day information will be out in at most a couple of weeks now, so everyone remain calm.  I hope the change helps.  I hope lots of BYU students flock to the 832; it will certainly be better service than the wretched student shuttle BYU currently endorses.  But I'm not holding my breath for 70 people to get on the 832 at once any time soon.

The 832.  It reminds us that there have been times when transit worked really, really well in Provo--and there are still a few of us holding out for the day when it works really, really well again.