MAX to TRAXX and Back Again: Becoming Car Independent

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While I lived in Germany, I learned to love a well planned out bus and Bahn schedule.  In Europe the trains are well timed and well placed, while the busses take the same ticket as the train, and you don't have to purchase them from the driver (eating up precious time).  I often wished that Salt Lake would adopt the same principle as Europe to make mass transit more timely.While I was gone in Chicago, UTA launched the new MAX bus line along 3500 South.  This line is faster than the usual bus line, and the bus itself is brand new.  The line only stops at all the major intersections along 35th, which means the bus isn't stopping as often.  It also goes directly from the stop on 35th to the TRAXX line, with no usual transfer at the Valley Fair Mall.  The bus therefore can travel from 72nd West to the TRAXX station in 45 minutes, instead of close to 1 hr. 30 minutes.  Add to that another 30 minutes of travel time from the TRAXX station to the University, the commute now becomes a 1 hour 15 minute commute, which is only a half an hour longer than driving (with traffic).  The bus is new too:  it's more like a European bus, with three doors on the side.  People purchase their tickets at the MAX stop (most of them have a ticket dispenser), and the tickets are checked periodically as they do on the TRAXX train.  The train is also larger and low to the ground, so it's easier to get in and out of.  Bikes are placed on the front of the bus, making local commuting beyond a TRAXX or MAX station faster and provide more exercise.  Now, you may be asking why I am going on and on about the new MAX line.  Well, with the MAX line in place, the commute to work without a car is now very possible, time effective, and well within my budget.  Not only could I purchase a monthly bus pass for the same price that I would a tank of gas, but because I'm a University employee I get a free yearly bus pass (which includes the TRAXX, MAX, and most bus lines).What this means is that we as a family can now go down to one car (or at least will be able to, depending on some factors).  If that's the case, we may be able to sell both our cars and purchase a more fuel efficient vehicle:  a Toyota Prius, and the total savings will mean more budget for projects and building a very useful infrastructure here at home for a home business.  All of a sudden, funding becomes available. So if UTA happens to read this post, please note that I am quite happy with the new MAX bus line.  I look forward to it being implemented across the valley, perhaps replacing many of the multiple stop busses.  It would reduce the fleet of UTA busses overall, increase ridership.  Tickets can be purchased before boarding, people don't have to check in with the bus driver while boarding, and the bus gets you to your location faster.  If you haven't tried the new MAX line, and there is one in your area, I would recommend it.