‘There’s always a trade-off to everything’: Weighing the time it takes to drive vs. public transportation

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Utah Transit Authority (UTA) is doing its part in the state’s effort to get every Utahn vaccinated by offering free fare to vaccination appointments. But in a state heavily reliant on driving, what would prevent Utahns from taking advantage of the free ride?

For someone who lives or works in West Jordan and plans to get their COVID-19 vaccine at the Megaplex Movie Theatre’s vaccination site in South Jordan, by car, it takes about 10 minutes. By public transit, that ride is nearly an hour.

For this story, ABC4 News used the ‘Transit’ mobile app (recommended by UTA) to locate routes and time departures.

From 90th South to the Megaplex, it required two bus rides and a TRAX train.

UTA spokesperson Carl Arky said he’s aware it can take longer by bus, train, or frontrunner, but notes everyone has their own preference of mobility.

“There’s always a trade-off to everything,” Arky said. “In this case, yeah, it will usually take a little bit longer than traveling in a car. But then there are the other benefits, and a lot of people weigh those benefits and choose and go with what’s most important to them.”

Time can be a factor in whether a person chooses to ride UTA or not. But if it’s not, Arky said public transportation can be less expensive and more relaxing – compared to being behind the wheel.

“If we can speed up the service, make it quicker, make it easier –  and we’re cognitive of that,” Arky said.

Future plans are in the works to incorporate more stops and less time to get your destination.

“We’ll probably be adding more buses in the future. We’ll be adding more trains in the future. We’ll be running them more regularly,” he said.

Arky said advancing public transit will happen over time.

“The system will improve, and it will become more convenient way to go than it is today,” he said.

UTA does not know how many people have or will use their services to get to their vaccination appointment. But Arky said no matter how many, it’s worth it.

In addition to the mobile app, customer service can help individuals create the best route by calling them at 801-743-3882.

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