It’s a bird, it’s a plane. Well, actually it is the Utah Transit Authority, or the UTA Mass-Transit TRAX trains and buses to be more precise, a common mode of travel for many Salt Lake Community College students. Over the past few years, and especially this last summer, UTA has worked to improve its system with longer routes, swifter schedules and the announcement of several long-distance trains to add to those which already exist.
Another great thing about UTA that hits closer to home for SLCC students is the new bus pass application of SLCC’s revamped student identification cards, the OneCard. Altogether these various changes have made UTA an affordable alternative to car-bound travel for the active student. However, familiarizing oneself with the system is not always an easy task, but it can be made easier when broken up into clear parts.
The first and most familiar form of UTA exists in its bus system, a series of routes that runs from past the airport to the Thanksgiving Point area. Bus routes can be split into a few different types. First, buses which run either every 15 minutes or every 20 minutes, second are ones which are Express/Fast Bus routes, third are inter-county routes and last are Flex Routes.
With a simple touch of a button on the UTA’s website, the UTA Trip Planner can pinpoint exact directions and bus routes in order to get where you need to go. Just type in the beginning location and ending location, note the time in which you would like to arrive and allow UTA to do the rest. This is particularly helpful if you use the “landmark” option, which allows you to select the landmark type. In the case of a student trying to get to school, this would be “college.” Then choose which college you are wishing to travel to, including the Jordan, Highland, Meadowbrook, Miller and South City campuses among others.
UTA’s second option for students is the trains themselves. An intricate plan of railways intended to span 134 miles by 2015, TRAX now boasts three lines of service as of August 7. The are the Daybreak Parkway to University Medical Center line, the West Valley Central to Salt Lake Central line and the Sandy Civic Center to Salt Lake Central Station train. These three trains have opened up possibilities for travel previously unheard of. Not only that, but many of them provide a direct route to specific campuses. Three such examples are the Miller, Sandy and Meadowbrook campuses, which are all accessible by way of the 701 Southbound Blue Line. The Jordan Campus can be reached via the 703 Southbound Red Line while South City is accessible through the 704 Northbound Green Line.
But the greatest advantage to SLCC students is the new and improved bus pass system through the student identification OneCard, created with the purpose of making transportation more convenient for the average student.
Prior to this semester SLCC had a method of assigning ID cards and bus passes as separate units. But in an effort to combine many of the previous OneCard benefits while also opening up the opportunity for more, the two have now been combined. It was a decision following in the path of predecessors, such as the University of Utah with its UCard. The only detail which requires some effort is the preparation for the OneCard’s use as a UTA pass, but even that is easy, as an email was recently sent out detailing the process to all registered students.
This email can be found in the Personal Announcements account on the main MyPage screen, seen when first signing in through slcc.edu. From there, you’ll be led to a link where one can pay for the pass, determining at that time which pass would work best for your travel activity. Make note, a printout will be presented upon finishing, and in order essentially switch the bus pass application “on,” this paper must be brought to the ID center as proof of purchase.
A monthly pass for Salt Lake Community College is $40 while a semester pass rests at $160. Even so, students save almost 50% through the use of the OneCard. And any OneCard bus pass can also be used for trips on TRAX as well as FrontRunner and the regular buses, in addition to acting as a checking card and being used for campus applications. A handy trait whether you’re trying to catch a class or head downtown for a date, performance, or night out on the town.
All in all, knowing how UTA works can be a great benefit for students, particularly those wishing to fight the traffic or go green this upcoming semester. And with the new changes which have arisen, such as access to further distances and handy routes at steady rates, riding with UTA becomes easy and affordable.
For route and map information, visit UTA’s main website, www.rideuta.com. Students who may have missed the bus pass email in their MyPage account can also visit www.rideuta.com/studentpass to purchase a pass online. For a look at the three new railways which just opened, students can visit www.rideuta.com/mc/?page=Projects-FrontLines2015-MidJordanTRAXLine