Crowded buses traversing Weber State University’s Ogden campus might soon become a thing of the past. In collaboration with the WSU Student Senate, Utah Transit
Authority has recently begun informally re-evaluating a few of its existing transit lines in an effort to address the growing student population it serves. Some changes, however, have already started.
“UTA just added five ‘helper’ buses to the 603 route that runs from FrontRunner to campus,” said WSU Student Association President Brady Harris. “I think this will be a great benefit to students. The majority of the population that attends WSU is from Davis County, and one of the largest reasons why more students don’t utilize the FrontRunner to get here is the difficulty getting from the FrontRunner station to campus. Adding the buses will go a long way in addressing that critical need.”
Harris went on to talk about the student senate’s inquiries into how the needs of students can be better addressed, saying that “the senate is currently looking into improving service between the Ogden and Davis campus, and these buses would be a big help in preparing for . . . the fall.”
Gerry Carpenter, spokesperson from UTA, said UTA has also been informally looking into making changes to the FrontRunner schedule because of high ridership.
“. . . Since (FrontRunner has) gone down to Provo, we see a lot more people riding further north, and some Weber State students are getting on down in Salt Lake County or even in Utah County and riding to school. We may make some adjustments for Route 603 in conjunction with those changes. . . . Our regional general manager (has) been talking to different folks about campus needs and community needs … but at this point, we have not made an official public announcement (about further expansion).”
UTA provides bus routes that run directly on or near campus, a fact many students, faculty and staff rely on to make their commutes each day. In addition to the availability of stops, more students are drawn to public transit by the UTA Ed Pass, available at the beginnings of semesters, that allow access to most buses, shuttles, and boarding on FrontRunner and TRAX.
Kaitlyn Brough, a freshman from Fruit Heights, said she believes many students utilize Utah’s public transportation because of the money it saves.
“I have an older car, so I save a lot of money by not having to pay for gas,” Brough said. “It’s really nice, because there’s only that $20 fee for it at the beginning of the year, and … you end up saving a lot.”
She expressed her enthusiasm for any changes that might come to the existing bus routes, saying, “It would be great if they would think about adding more buses and more stops.”
Harris said he believes UTA is going in the right direction.
“(There are) still many improvements that could be made for both situations, but I am excited to see UTA and WSU take the first steps in improving these services for students,” Harris said. “Kent Jorgenson from UTA (said they were adding) . . . five helper buses to the 603 line this fall semester to help with overloads. We also promoted the 455 as an alternative because it has less riders, fewer stops, and connects downtown Ogden to WSU.”