On Monday night, we decided to teach our children the virtues of mass transit for Family Night. So we loaded everyone up in the old minivan and drove to downtown Salt Lake City. After an interesting dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe (where the kids had no idea who the featured musicians were and the kids mac and cheese meals were $6.50 each, ouch), we went to the Salt Lake Intermodal Hub to catch a ride on the new commuter rail train, FrontRunner, which opened last weekend. I have to admit that part of my motivation was the FREE rides that UTA offered during the first few days of its “grand opening.” The other part of my motivation was the fact that my kids REALLY wanted to ride on the train. So off we went.
The Salt Lake station was packed and we knew that even if we were able to get on the train, we would have no place to sit. So we decided to drive up to the next station in Woods Cross. By the time we got there, the sun had gone down. Then we had a hard time actually getting to the station’s address coordinates. Once we did find it, we parked and ran over to the platform and jumped on the train. It was still very crowded and we made our way to the top level of the double decker train. A nice family let us use two of their seats for our family of six and so Robin and I ended up with two kids on our laps each.
The train was so smooth and quiet that I didn’t even know we had left the station at first. Very cool. And it got going pretty fast, as evidenced by the fact that we were passing cars on I-15 which was right next to us. The only problem was that it was pretty dark so we couldn’t really see anything out the window. Plus it was so crowded and noisy that it wasn’t a particularly pleasant ride. As soon as we arrived at the Layton station, we crossed the platform and boarded the train back to Woods Cross. That train was even more crowded and so we had to sit on the stairs.
It will be interesting to see the continued expansion of mass transit along the Wasatch Front. I think FrontRunner is a great step in that direction as was TRAX. And as the price of gas continues to rise, along with concerns about carbon emissions, hopefully we can change our driving culture to include more efficient mass transit solutions as well.