Thursday, March 05, 2009

Eagle Mountain City Councilman on UTA Express Line to Provo

A UTA express bus line is coming to Eagle Mountain this Spring. I discussed the line here and here. I had questions concerning the cost and subsidy the bus line required, particularly since the cost to ride the bus remains pretty high.

Well, on my city councilman's website, someone asked when we were going to get an express line to Provo/Orem. Here is his reply:
The biggest factor will be the number of bus riders on the upcoming express bus route to Salt Lake City from Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain. If that route has a significant number of dailly riders and that bus route comes close to breaking even financially, then more bus routes will be considered. If those 2 express bus routes are not at or near capacity, then it will take a longer time for additional routes to be considered by UTA.

The second factor is funding. This new bus route was jump started with a $200k federal grant to expand bus services. If there is more transporation grant money avialable, then that would increase the likelyhood of expanded bus routes.

The third factor is the sales tax revenue. Eagle Mountain and Saratoga Springs residents voted to pay a quarter of a percnet more sales tax to subsidize the bus services to our area. If the sales taxes generated from our 2 cities makes up any shortfall that the 2 express bus routes, then we help our chances in getting additional routes.

The 4th is a bit of an unknown. There are efforts available to put all of Utah County into the UTA transportation district. There is legal wrangling about this and I don't know how much support there is county wide to join the transportation district. If we, as a county, join the UTA do join there will be expanded bus routes county-wide and that will also increase our chances of additional bus lines.

The bottom line is that we are in the in a trial/test/pilot/evaluation period to see the success of what we already have. It if works out as a positive thing and capacity and percentage of ridership his high, then we probably get more options. We will have to wait and see.
So after hundreds of thousands of federal dollars, tens of thousands of city tax dollars, plus $160 a month per person to ride the bus, there are concerns that UTA won't break even by driving two buses to Salt Lake City and back five days a week? I don't get it.


Mark said...

I don't have an opinion on Provo bus lines or whatever. I came to ask you to come back and visit my place again. I added original artwork to my latest post since you visited.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the world of public transit. I like the concept that public transit is a benefit to our communities, but the fact is that economically it does not add up. I recently discovered as my job moved to a new building that riding the bus costs me more, even with the government subsidies to UTA, than driving my own car. I knew it took more time, but the only way to have it cost less was if the company were also subsidizing my bus pass - and that's not even with express service rates. I have co-workers from your part of Utah County who commute here for less than half the cost of an express bus pass.

Cameron said...

Sweet pics Mark. You should do more of it, and more often.

Cameron said...

Back when gas was over $4 UTA's monthly pass was about break even for me - if I drove alone. But now it's not even close.

I'm really trying to understand why it costs so much money to run a bus route. And nobody seems to have an answer. Everyone in my city, citizens and officials alike, just jumped headlong into this "solution" to congestion but the numbers simply don't add up.