Rolly: Unwitting TRAX customers get stranded at midnight
When Laura Green was invited to join some friends at Keys on Main for a Saturday evening of fun, she rode TRAX to avoid parking hassles in downtown Salt Lake City.
She checked the UTA website to see when the last train left downtown, which was 11:45 p.m. She parked her car at the 3900 South Meadowbrook lot and took the train into town. When she paid her cover fee at Keys on Main, the doorman taking her money reminded her that the last train was at 11:45.
After having a good time, she left at 11:10 just to make sure there were no glitches on her ride back to her car.
She caught the second-to-last train, and everything seemed to be going OK until they reached 2100 South and the driver told everyone over the intercom that they were at the end of the line and had to exit the train.
When she asked a UTA agent if there was a bus she could take to 3900 South, he said, "They shut down before we do." He said she could walk the half block to 300 West, then trek the three miles on that road to her car on 3900 South. But that would mean walking in a poorly lit industrial area near midnight.
Luckily, there was a 24-hour IHOP on the corner of 300 West and 2100 South. When she asked the restaurant host for a directory to call a cab, he guessed correctly that she had been dumped from TRAX and stranded. He told her that happens all the time on Saturday nights and rattled off the number of Yellow Cab from memory.
After waiting on hold with the cab company for 20 minutes, she decided to call her daughter, wake her up and have her come to the rescue.
Meanwhile, two teenage girls, also stranded, came into the restaurant and called their parents. Then another couple who had taken the Green Line to West Valley City also came in because that train closed down at the 2100 South Central Point station.
Then another couple came in. No one realized when they boarded the train downtown that it wouldn't take them all the way to their original destination.
Later on, Green checked the UTA schedule online. The stops after Central Point are blank on the Saturday night schedule, and a note at the bottom states those stops are skipped. But that was easy to miss when checking the final departure times, assuming the trains would travel the entire route.
She says there is no clear warning on the site that the nighttime trains stop running halfway along the route. She also says it would be nice if UTA alerted the downtown nightclubs, so they could warn customers.
UTA spokesman Remi Barron said the last train on Saturday nights is highlighted on the schedules as ending at 2100 South. The last trains stop there so they can be stored at the rail yard for the night. Barron says other information sources available to customers also make it clear when the last trains stop. They include printed schedules, the online trip planner and "last train" signs on the platforms.