Sales tax revenue is supporting the City’s latest Transit Master Plan which will help the City and its transit partners increase frequency of service to fill gaps in evening, mid-day and weekend service; provide service on new east-west routes; and improve the quality of transit stops.
Better transit service connects residents with jobs and affordable housing, improves air quality, creates more walkable communities and adds to the quality of life of all residents and visitors. Many essential workers in our community, such as healthcare and grocery store employees, depend on the continued operation of transit services.
As part of the effort to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus, keep everyone safe and ensure fiscal responsibility, UTA reduced service temporarily in April of 2020. But on August 23rd, UTA’s August 2020 Change Day, UTA restored 90 percent of service, targeting improvements for those who need service the most. The Frequent Transit Network, or FTN, bus routes (along 200 South, 900 South, and 2100 South) are all being restored to, or improved beyond, pre-COVID levels. For instance, Route 2 on 200 South will have expanded hours of service from 4 am to midnight on weekdays and Saturdays as well as expanded hours of service from 6 am to 9 pm on Sundays.
UTA continues to implement additional disinfecting and social distancing measures to keep riders and operators safe, and UTA now requires all riders and employees to a wear face mask or covering. Check the UTA website for the latest changes. Again, many essential workers in our community, such as healthcare and grocery store employees, depend on the continued operation of transit services.
Frequent Transit Network
Salt Lake City Transportation continues to strengthen partnerships to meet the transit critical need. The City and Utah Transit Authority (UTA) partnered to implement the first phase of the Frequent Transit Network in 2019. This network will be complemented through the implementation of other transit improvements.
The City and UTA entered an interlocal agreement and launched the first three routes of the new Frequent Transit Network in August 2019. The interlocal agreement includes higher frequency service and expanded span of service along key initial corridors (200 South, 900 South and 2100 South) and additional buses. These consisted of concrete pads to provide a more comfortable waiting experience, as well as wheelchair access to buses, and were in place for the new bus service that started in August 2019.
Transportation initiated outreach activities in early 2019, beginning with an Open Routes event in February 2019 (which previewed a section of one of the new bus lines that runs between North Temple and California Avenue in the Glendale and Poplar Grove neighborhoods with Mayor Biskupski and Council Member Johnston) and a “soft launch” awareness campaign for the new frequent routes that kicked off in August. Using Facebook, Instagram, digital display ads, Spotify, and Deseret News takeover, over 1.3 million impressions were served through November 2019 and over 444,000 unique impressions were recorded.
Transportation also created a “meeting in a box” for the FTN, which they presented in-person to community groups through March 2020 until COVID prevented further in-person engagement. Community members can borrow it to conduct the same presentation to groups with whom they are involved if they’d like to spread the word about the new bus service. A survey was also conducted from November 2019 to March 2020 about the FTN. Check out the map of suggested bus stop improvements from that survey here. These interactions help staff develop a highly visible brand for the network.
The Transportation Division also worked on developing on-demand service for residential neighborhoods, which will provide curb-to-curb connections to the FTN. The Transportation Division is working with the City’s Economic Development Department, in partnership with UDOT’s TravelWise Program, to implement a Work-to-Transit Program on the Industrial West Side to expand options and support businesses in managing travel demand to and from this economic driver of the City.
A fare and pass program analysis has been underway, including robust stakeholder engagement, to determine the best ways to take transit affordability to the next level. In partnership with UTA and UDOT, they have been awarded funding through the American Dream Ideas Challenge to conduct research for a potential future Mobility as a Service program, which will allow for multimodal trip planning and payment on a single platform and through a subscription service.
Bus Stop Improvements
During construction season of 2020, Salt Lake City, in partnership with Utah Transit Authority (UTA), is making improvements to certain bus stops across the City, including some along the Frequent Transit Network. We are making these improvements in the following areas:
The primary purpose of the improvements is to make the bus stops accessible to all riders. Improvements will vary by stop but may include the addition of shelters, benches, trash cans, bike racks, and lighting. Along with stop improvements there may also be some stop consolidation to improve the efficiency of the bus routes. Some of the improved bus stops will also serve new routes in the coming years. These improvements impact the following bus routes:
There will be more updates and physical signage posted at impacted bus stops as we get closer to construction. Please let us know if you have any specific concerns about your stop in these areas by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or 801-535-6630.
Please visit slc.gov/transit for more details.
Additional Planning positions work to update the Transit Dashboard story map monthly and address increases in workload and free up capacity to address transit-related zoning issues.
The Civic Engagement Specialist position continues to coordinate engagement for Funding Our Future projects, many of them focused on transit and transportation.
Updated August 2020
The budget information below is for fiscal year 2020-2021.
|FY21 Frequent Transit Network (FTN) Bus Routes||COVID has reduced Frequent Transit Network (FTN) service on key bus routes. During this period of uncertainty, the goal is to retain operators so that when ridership increases again, service can resume to normal frequency levels (15-minutes or better, Monday thru Saturday from 5 a.m. to midnight, and Sunday service).||$4,700,000|
|UTA Branding and Outreach||Fund branding and a public outreach process for collaborative projects with UTA.||$100,000|
|Transit Route Improvements||Fund capital improvements associated with the Frequent Transit Network (FTN), including signal upgrades, ADA enhancements, bus stop improvements, first/last mile connections, etc.||$1,100,000|
|Planner & Transit Planner||Continue to fund two staff members, one in the Planning Division and one in the Transportation Division, to manage transit programs and address transit-related zoning issues.||$210,637|
|Project Engineer||Continue to fund position focused on engineering tasks related to transportation and street projects.||$109,398|
|Transportation Engineer||Continue to fund Engineer focused on complete street transformations that combine bond reconstructions with FTN corridor infrastructure.||$100,342|
|Civic Engagement Specialist||Continue to fund Engagement Specialist specifically for Funding Our Future projects.||$66,166|