Commuter Success Stories: Rosalie Ortega

“My UCard is my passport to get around the Salt Lake valley with ease. I didn’t own a car during my freshman year, so I learned how to rely on UTA as my main transportation source. I ride TRAX to campus about five times a week, and I use the bus to run errands downtown every now and then. Traveling back and forth from the U is easy since three TRAX stations and several bus stops are located directly on campus.

There are three reasons why I ride UTA instead of driving. One, it’s convenient for me as a Millcreek resident. Two, I save a ton of money; I’d rather ride UTA for free than pay over $200 a year for a parking permit. I can put the money I save toward other necessary expenses, like textbooks or tuition. And three, I get to chill out during my commute. Instead of being stuck in traffic, I get to sit back, relax and listen to my favorite music.

Despite the pandemic, my commuting habits haven’t changed. I still ride UTA, but I do so safely. Like the other passengers, I wear a face covering and I practice social distancing as much as possible. I also carry my trusty little hand sanitizer with me everywhere and use it through my trips. Doing these small things and noticing UTA’s additional safety measures helps me feel safe when riding public transit.

If you’re ready to save money and relax during your commute, trying riding UTA instead of driving. Changing your commuting habits may sound a little overwhelming at first, so here are my tips for beginner riders:

Understand which route you need to take

There a couple of apps that can help you determine which route you need to take to get to your destination. The Transit app is UTA’s official travel planner and shows you multiple transit options. I also recommend Google Maps because it’s easy to use and has a feature that shows the estimated capacity.

Learn the schedule

TRAX runs every 15 minutes and the FrontRunner runs every 30 minutes; however, the bus schedules vary depending on the route. It’s important to understand the transit schedule to avoid confusion and delays. You can see the schedules on UTA’s website.

Have a flexible mentality 

Keep in mind that service disruptions happen every once in a while. Always try to be plan ahead just in case something comes up.

It’s never too late to start riding public transportation, even during the pandemic. Whether you ride once or five times a week, making the switch to UTA can result in a positive impact on your wallet, mental health and other aspects of your life.”

–Rosalie Ortega, Sophomore in Ethnic Studies, Campus Store Employee