Initial rush of FrontRunner riders encouraging to UTA
Posted: 8:17 PM- The free rides on new FrontRunner commuter trains kept packing thousands of curious riders between Salt Lake City and Ogden on Monday.
Seven trains during peak morning commuter hours delivered about 600 people each to Salt Lake's transit hub, Utah Transit Authority spokeswoman Carrie Bohnsack-Ware said. Some of those clearly were work commuters, carrying briefcases and laptops and boarding in Ogden as early at 5:15 a.m. By 6 p.m., total ridership was around 30,000.
UTA is expecting about 6,000 daily riders once people start paying fares on Thursday. But the initial rush of riders has been encouraging, Bohnsack-Ware said.
Sel Heidel of Tooele tried the ride on Monday and said he plans to use the trains to see friends in the northern suburbs. He brought his bicycle to Salt Lake by bus, then rode to the train station and brought the bike with him.
The train was crowded and took longer than he expected to reach Ogden -- about an hour and 15 minutes, he said -- but it's worth the effort.
"I'd rather go by mass transit than drive," he said. "I love driving, but it's just too expensive."
UTA continues to work out kinks with FrontRunner's free wireless Internet access, which has been spotty in the first days. The system should be fully functional within a week, Bohnsack-Ware said.