UTA Board Chairman Learns Valuable Lessons After Using Only Mass Transit For One Week
A group of people interested in seeing the Utah Transit Authority expand the hours its buses and trains operates recently challenged the UTA Board of Trustees and leadership to use only public transit for seven days. For the few who accepted the challenge the experience had quite an impact.
Of the 15 members on the UTA Board of Trustees, only three have participated in the challenge so far. Rep. Greg Hughes is the chairman of the Board of Trustees. He took the challenge and says, while he’s always spoken philosophically of the benefits of mass transit, making it his only form of transportation has increased his empathy for those dealing with UTA’s limitations.
“I can certainly see why with the transit system that we have here in Utah, and it is good, there is room for improvement," he says. "And there are ways that we need to make sure have that last mile problem solved, and I think there are multiple ways of doing that, but I have a deeper appreciation for it.”
Hughes says completing the challenge and still getting to his appointments on time took a lot more planning than normal.
“I had to walk to my dentist’s office which was a mile away from the Murray Central Station and that was a learning experience for me, in terms of having to get there on time and how uncomfortable my shoes were to get there,” he says.
Alex Cragun is the man who issued the challenge to the board of trustees. He did it during a recent board meeting where he also dropped off a petition calling for UTA to increase their hours of operation. He says he’s disappointed with those who have so far chosen not to participate.
“Some of them told me, no, because it affected their job performance," Cragun says. "Which is kind of the point, you know. That was part of the reason of the challenge, to demonstrate to them how hard it is to obtain and maintain employment when you solely rely on public transportation systems.”
Necia Christensen & Keith Bartholomew are the other two UTA board members who have completed the challenge. Cragan hopes that a few more board members decide to participate before UTA’s next board meeting on September 24.