Why TRAX is Dumb II

Over at the CATO@Liberty blog, they ask Is Portland Light Rail a Success?.

I routinely hear people say that Salt Lake City’s light rail, TRAX, is a success. When asked for more information on what makes it a success, they generally devolve to their own personal opinion that they find TRAX convenient for them and that they like it. I’m sure its easy to like something that you don’t have to pay for, but that is not the measure of success for spending public money. I’d like it if tax money were simply diverted to my bank account. I would consider that a success, but the people who pay those taxes would disagree.

When I watch the TRAX cars roll by they are mostly empty. The exceptions are when there is a sporting event at the arena downtown or other such activity and people are using TRAX as a way to get downtown without having to find a parking space (not that finding a parking space in downtown SLC is even remotely hard). I hear news reports, increasing in frequency, of people’s cars being vandalized and burglarized while they are parked at the TRAX station. When you think about it, all those cars parked in the TRAX station are just sitting ducks. There’s no patrolling of the TRAX station parking lots as far as I know and if people are commuting to work then the cars are just sitting there unattended and unmonitored all day long. It must be easy pickings for thieves.

TRAX has always felt like bureacratic empire building within UTA more than a solution to a problem. If light rail were an alternative that people really wanted compared to their cars, then private industry would already be providing it.

2 Responses to “Why TRAX is Dumb II”

  1. Brad Midgley Says:

    I believe the state granted UTA an exclusive contract for public transit, so the private industry comment should really be shot at the legislature not UTA.

    One measure that would be interesting to quantify would be the change in demographic using UTA with trax. I see more professionals on trax than I do on city (non-express) buses.


  2. legalize Says:

    In an article about today’s storm, a rider of trax reports that normally when they ride trax into work their car contains only about 5 people.


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