Showing posts with label UTA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label UTA. Show all posts

Monday, September 8, 2014

Rambling Thoughts, Changes and Observations

Each morning as Jenna and I walk to the bus, we notice the sprinklers watering the lush green grass on the corner   
and I think how nice it would be to have lush green grass.

Never in my life has the yard outside of whatever house I’ve lived in, has there been lush green grass inviting my bare feet to run through it.

For the most part, if ever I have been brave enough to go barefooted, my feet scream at me and remind me that there are dry patches among the green but still non-lush.

I find that when I just wear sandals outside of the last two houses I have lived, the thorns and stickweed chock the life out of whatever we’d like to be growing. 
They scratch at my feet and my legs and imbed themselves
 into the soles of my shoes and often hitch rides into the house.

We did not water this year.  Water pressure is down 
devoting four hours a day to my less than promising lawn was not a priority.  Rather a waste of time
 (and water)

Our yard actually does not much worse than it has the years we have tried to nurture.

I ride the bus.
I notice many buses seem to be coming out of retirement.
They’re not all old relics.  But I was on one the other day that had the vinyl blue seat
The same vinyl seats I remember from the first time I had ever taken the bus.
But that was over 30 years ago.  Surely it’s not that old.

But the seats seemed to be closer to the floor
As my knees seemed more bent and up in my face somehow
And there was no legroom – or perhaps it just seemed that way because the seats are so close to the floor.
Sometimes those relics are used for training purposes. 
I have been a passenger on buses in which the driver is still training.
I wonder how long it takes to train before they get to be out on their own.

UTA offers more than 100 routes.  I don’t know how many buses are needed for each route. 
I would guess more than a thousand buses. 
Some have been in recent crashes.
Some have just given out for whatever reason.
That’s a lot of buses – not to mention the flex buses and ski buses and whatever else.

When we got to the school, Jenna made some comment about what she’s learning
I don’t remember what it was, but I questioned it and compared to my own upbringing.
“It’s a different century mom.”
She’s right.  Both my mom and I had gone to school in the 20th century.
Jenna wasn’t even born until the 21st. 
Not the way she meant it, but it made me think.
We really are going two schools in two different centuries

I’ve brainstormed thoughts for a while now. 
But I either couldn’t sit down to form sentences
Or was just too tired to.
I have lacked motivation.
The weather is changing.
I wear a jacket to the bus stop
and when we walk to the school
But it usually comes off before I cross the street
to catch the return bus home
I prefer the cool weather.
I don’t like it when it’s hot.
I haven’t melted yet.
That’s something.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

More Buses Needed

Yesterday was the first day of school this school year. Before the bus pulled up to the curb, there had been only one passenger. I predicted that the bus before it was running behind and overflowing with passengers. I learned that my predictions had been accurate as we boarded the overflowing bus this morning.

Right after we boarded, the frustrated driver called into dispatch to make a complaint that he was already running twenty minutes late – picking up passengers from the bus prior to his as well as those waiting for the bus behind him. It wasn't fair that he should be late because the one before him had been late or in an accident or whatever.

By the time Jenna and I reached our bus stop, I saw the driver reach for the phone for the third time. This time it was with a request that he would only drop off passengers and not pick new ones up. He must have been granted clearance, for when I went back to catch the return back to my house, it was the same driver and I asked if he was still behind. He said that he was not. Good for him. Good for UTA for setting things right. If they set things right.

I know when one bus has a problem – breaking down or whatever else – it causes more delay with the next bus. I've been on those buses before. I've also opted to wait for the next. My personal opinion (not that anyone has asked, but here it is anyway) is that during those hours that students are trying to get to school, and people are trying to get to work – put out a few extra buses – scheduling them every ten minutes instead of every fifteen. It would (and does) make a tremendous difference. No chain reaction build-up.

We've been scanning Jenna's card each time we enter and exit the form of transportation that we are using.  It will expire at the end of the week.  We will both have unscannable passes - which makes it easier on me.  But I did like the idea of entering our route agenda into the system - sort of.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Thank You Budda and Freedom Fighter

            A week after Jenna’s first art class had finished, UTA had a problem when one of its trains derailed downtown.  The same train we would have been on had we still been commuting downtown.

I guess it wasn’t just UTAs problem, but anyone driving that particular path downtown.  It appears that it was covered by all of the media during some point of day.  But I hadn’t heard about it until after 6:00 p.m.  I guess by then it had become “old news” and I didn’t know anything more about it until the following day when I typed “UTA derailment” on Google. 

            The Tribune article was the first one that I came across.  Comments can be submitted and read at the end of the article. Many hurtful comments were made toward UTA and thus UTA passengers, but just as many had come to the defense of UTA and those who may have no choice other than public transportation.  I admire the courage of those who submitted their comments in defense of the passengers – many who do not choose to use public transportation but are empathetic to those who do.

            I didn’t read even half the comments.  It was hard to read the ones that ripped into the inconvenience of having to put up with rails and public transportation in the first place.  They are the ones who should be most grateful, I would think.  Certainly they have been inconvenienced by the construction and the building of UTA and perhaps getting behind a bus once in a while – but really, if they would look at the whole picture and consider the many passengers who use public transportation as a convenience so that they don’t have to drive or park downtown, public transportation makes it so much easier for those who do choose to drive because there are less cars to deal with.  Daily traffic could be so much worse.

            Slow moving or rerouted or stand still is an inconvenience.  Generally the traffic itself is not life threatening.  It doesn’t rob us of possessions or health.  It’s an inconvenience.  I’d much rather deal with horrible traffic situations than vandalism, or a tornado, or being shot.  Be grateful for public transportation and traffic lights and stop signs and traffic cops and so forth because when they aren’t present, things go awry. 

            So thank you budda and freedomfighter and for others who came to the defense of public transportation because (as pointed by some users of public transportation) there really are several who don’t have a choice.  We ALL need public transportation.  It does make a positive difference overall.

             For other coverage you can click here or here.  There is even a video on youtube.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Two Hours is Too Long

On the day that my oldest nephew was married
Jenna and I had lunch and played in the park
with my youngest niece and her brother
who used to be the youngest
but another brother will be born
I’m guessing in July. 

Kayla’s due date is August 2nd
but she looks like
she’s ready to pop
any minute.
We both believe that B.J. is on his side.
Kayla says he moves around
much more than the other two

Anna and Garrett (we call him Gary)
are replicas of their mother
at least they LOOK like Kayla
I bet their brother looks like Bill
and has Bill’s personality.
Hence my nickname for him –
B.J. = Bill Junior

Today we could not meet in the park for lunch. 
This afternoon
Jenna and I took a bus out to their house
and took them back to the same bus stop
and rode to the next TRAX station
where we boarded the train
Gary was especially awed
by this new sensation.

We took the train back to
where Jenna and I had started out. 
The kids played in the fountain
while we waited
for the bus to come.
We boarded the bus that took us
back to their house.
We had completed a wide circle.
Too wide.  They were tired.
I should have taken pictures
of them sleeping
on the bus.

Next time we will have to
choose another route
and spend only an hour
and a half on the wonder
of UTA –
perhaps just bus and
Fairbourne station
and not do the train.
I think all three
would rather play
in the water than to
ride the train again.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Hope that Smoke was Worth the Fine!

Yesterday morning was quite interesting.  It started off with Jenna and me taking the bus.  We were running late and saw our regular driver zoom by before we arrived to the stop.  The other route was not so far behind him and so we were okay.

I had volunteered to be the subject of a hair specialist but was unable to make it to the designated area at the scheduled time and so the one who made the appointment offered to drive me there.  We agreed to meet behind Jenna’s school.  Turns out that Megan has the same sense of direction as my mom had, and so it took a while before we actually got together.  It also took a while to get her car turned in the direction we needed to go (as she was very turned around)

As we were headed to our destination, the hairdresser called to tell Megan that she had mono and NOT to bring me – though the message was not received until we were near the location.  I wasn’t bothered really nor did I feel put out and apologized to Megan for having gone out of her way to come and get me (I actually hadn’t known how far she had come to get me until we were on our way there) and she felt bad that I had wasted my morning.

I told her that I would have taken a train to the library and as the library doesn’t open until 10:00 I would have spent that time waiting anyway.  She offered to take me to the library but I had her drop me off at TRAX station instead. 

I exited the train at the time my appointment would have started.  I still had to wait for the library doors to open – even with the bizarre morning excursion.  After I picked up the items that had been placed on hold, I returned to TRAX with three minutes to spare before the train’s departure.  I watched a man talking on the cell phone. He had a cigarette in his mouth standing less than six inches from the “no smoking” sign.  Really?

Before the train pulled away he’d been approached by a kind police officer – or so it appeared.  The officer was smiling as he pointed to the sign.  I sensed that perhaps he was a smoker himself (or had been) and was not thrilled with the idea of writing this guy up.  The smoker, of course, was not happy. I don’t know if the officer was writing up a warning or citation.  The train pulled away as the smoker stood waiting for his identification to be returned.

UTA fines are heavy from what I understand.  I may have violated crossing where I’m not supposed to, but I was never sited for it.  I don’t know if they cite you for that or if they just enforce you to walk to the designated area for crossing.  I know they’ll cite individuals who cross the tracks while on their cell phones, I just learned about the enforced “no smoke” policy yesterday.  And I know that there’s a huge fine involved for those who can’t produce proof of payment. 

I’ve actually not had many opportunities in which I’ve had to show proof – maybe it’s because I don’t ride the train all that often.  But I have seen police at various locations boarding other trains – or perhaps the driver will pick them up at an undesignated stop – I don’t know.  With the few times I have needed to show proof , it seems like the enforcement officers appeared out of nowhere and then were gone just as instantly as they had appeared.

Jenna and I did see two police officers interrogating two youth or young adults rather.  One may have been nineteen but the other was still considered a minor.  I’m guessing the two rode the train without having paid and got caught.  After the citations were issued the one that must have been eighteen or nineteen (though I suppose she could have been older), she walked passed me and Jenna like it was no big deal. The other girl was humiliated and ashamed. She appeared to be in tears as she was escorted to the parking lot by the two officers who stood behind her watching like the Gestapo. I assume waiting for her parents or guardians to pick her up.

I can’t imagine any amount of money attached to the fine to be worth the ride or the smoke or talking on the cell phone or crossing at the wrong place . I do understand each of them and I’m grateful to know that they are being enforced.  Oh, I’m certain that there have been many who have gotten away with it.  Perhaps more than there have been those who’ve paid.  Some sadly haven’t had the opportunity to pay with money.  Some have sadly paid with their lives – which is why the rules are enforced.

Monday, October 21, 2013

I Think Roland Should be Driving for UTA

            Jenna and I got on the more crowded bus this morning but I took the less crowded one back to the house.  I was actually the only passenger for the first three lights.  And I was thinking that UTA really missed out for not hiring Roland as one of their drivers.

         He may have only applied that one time.  I don’t know if it even resulted with an interview or not.  Roland is a great driver.  I doubt he would be intimidated by the size of the bus.  He is a master behind the wheel in all kinds of weather.  He has exceptional people skills.  And I believe he enjoys driving.

         Not me.  I remember taking the bus one time – cold wet snowy day.  I got talking to the driver about my job and searching for another.  He said that UTA was hiring drivers.  I reminded him that I was taking the bus so that I didn’t have to drive.  Besides driving a station wagon was actually the biggest vehicle I wanted to go.  The bus is what?  Five times the size – maybe ten.  My driving skills  and a monster vehicle?  No thank you. 

         My family was friends with a UTA employee.  He had a charming personality and most of his passengers were comfortable with his over friendliness.  He was in a high senior position when UTA brought in TRAX and so had the option of driving the train instead of the bus.  I remember him telling me that driving the train freaked him out and he wanted nothing to do with it.

         He has since retired and moved away.  I don’t know where he is living at present.  I had heard from some of his family members that he has dementia.  I wonder if they had to put him in an assisted living program like we did with mom.  I wonder what stage he is in.

         I have posted some opinions on public transportation before.  But not with Roland in mind.  I know he would do well driving busses.  But he’s now sixty.  I don’t think UTA would hire him.  Their loss.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Ahead of Schedule

When I was younger there were two bus routes that I could catch on State Street near my mom's house.  The #7 to Highland or the #5 to Parley's way.  One of them went all the way to the zoo - but I don't know which one.

When I was working downtown, the route names or destinations had changed.  There were four busses that ran along State Street between 6400 and 100 South.  I could catch the 25 Midvale or the 22 West Sandy where I had caught the two mentioned in the first paragraph.  Or I could walk over to the mall to catch the 24 East Sandy or 12 Murray.  It wasn't that big of a deal to walk from 6400 to my mom's house.  And even though 25 and 22 were closer, I preferred the coming home on the 24 only because I didn't have to cross the street to go back home.

Thus far Jenna and I have been fortunate not to have to cross the street when we have ridden to school.  We even have the option of catching a bus near the school without having to cross the street. We do have to cross a busy street near our house however.  Don’t like that much.  And then there is the walking.

It’s too bad that we can’t take Highness with us.  I think he would enjoy the walks – but alas – no dogs allowed.  And there is no way that Highness would ever pass for a service dog.  What a hilarious thought.

So this morning we left the house earlier than on Tuesday (Roland was able to take her yesterday – and occasionally she may get a ride from Biff in the future – depending on how well he takes care of the car, or if it will pass inspection . . .)

I don’t know why three out of four of my kids find it necessary to be to the school 30 to 60 minutes before the first bell rings.  But Jenna really does get upset if she hasn’t been given over twenty minutes to play before line up.  When there are snow days and children are kept inside – guess who will go out to the playground if given a choice?

We stood between buses – and ended up taking the same one we had on Tuesday – so it did not get her to school any earlier.  But I am already at the bus for the return home when the first bell rings.

Right now the walk from the bus stop to the school is comfortable.  The air is not too hot. Not too cold.  Perhaps a little cool in the morning – but I would rather have the coolness (or the cold even) rather than scorching rays of the sun.  Jenna’s probably the opposite.  But for me it is perfect weather right now.

Anyway, the bus did come early.  Two stops later the bus doors opened while the driver and passengers waited.  Jenna asked why this bus wasn’t moving.  “It’s ahead of schedule” which is a rare thing – or at least it was before TRAX. 


 All bus routes have changed – due to construction – do to modernization and growth.  I think that they all go to TRAX at some point along their route.  But I don’t know.  Perhaps I’ll become more familiar with the bus system as I go, but for now I am very limited in my knowledge.

The stop where Jenna and I have been getting off and on near her school is in front of an assisted living facility – the first one I had looked into when my brothers were both in denial that mom would need to be moved so soon.  It was the least expensive of all those we had looked at.  But it did not have memory care.  Mom could have escaped from there quite easily.

I was told that the stop will be eliminated.  Right now the bus actually goes through SLCC   – but after December it will remain on Redwood and no longer through the campus.  Though I have seen students get off and on.  Perhaps it’s just not popular enough?  I don’t know.  

I was going to suggest we try another option when I pick her up this afternoon.  But as we will have to do it three months from now, I suppose there’s no hurry.  We’ll try the alternate soon enough.  In the snow. Hey, but at least we’re both getting much needed exercise. And it seems like more quality time than having her jabber on endlessly while I am trying to concentrate on the road.

Perhaps one day when I am gone, she will look back and remember this time.  And perhaps it will be more meaningful to her than it is right now.