With gas prices soaring, Tooele County commuters have been exploring different methods of transportation — primarily UTA buses.
“We have over the last three months seen a 15 percent increase in our ridership both in and out of the Tooele area,” said UTA Spokesperson Justin Jones. “That amounts to about 80 additional people and 80 is quite a bit.”
He said that there are normally 540 bus riders that come out of the Tooele area, but that in March the numbers had jumped to 620. While Jones does not attribute all of the increase in ridership to escalating gas prices, he did say that is part of the reason.
He also noted that ridership rates have increased between five and 11 percent in other areas along the Wasatch Front.
But even UTA is being hit hard by rising gas prices. Jones said last year UTA budgeted gas to cost about $1.21 a gallon. He said UTA is currently paying $1.85 a gallon and has already gone $475,000 over budget. To accommodate this matter, ridership rates will be increasing from $1.35 per one way adult fair to a $1.40 this Sunday, May 1. The same rate increase will apply to TRAX.
Despite the increase, Jones said it can still be cheaper for some commuters to ride the bus rather than drive.
As far as adding additional routes to the area, Jones said that is an issue UTA considers three times each year.
If you need to know where buses are going to and at what time, visit www.rideuta.com. Jones said a handy feature is the “Plan a Trip” selection, which allows a person to type in their starting address and ending point and get several different options on how to get there using the UTA system.