Wednesday, February 2, 2011

UTA fare hikes prompt Twitter outrage

Posted By on February 2, 2011, 1:29 PM

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There were a few Twitter battles in the last 24 hours between @RideUTA, the official Twitter feed of the Utah Transit Authority, and several riders angered by UTA's price hike that's now costing TRAX riders $4.50 per day for round-trips commutes.---

UTA has proposed permanent fair hikeS that will replace the fuel surcharge that went into effect this morning. UTA has also proposed changing the fuel surcharge system--which previously calculated the average price of gas during a quarter then passed costs of expensive fuel onto riders in the following quarter (as of this morning, riders are paying an extra $.25 because the average price of diesel in the fourth quarter was $3.20/gallon, above the $3/gallon threshold to trigger the surcharge).

For more background, read the press release: http://www.rideuta.com/uploads/03FareIncreasePressRelease13111.pdf

There's just way too much to reproduce it all and Twitter conversations are notoriously difficult to represent in formats outside of Twitter, so I've collected only some of the most interesting Tweets directed at UTA in reaction to the price hike--they're still coming, even as I type this--and also some of UTA's responses. Users @heydebhenry, @kevindwhite, @ryanmer and Fox13 reporter @BenWinslow were the most frequent Tweeters, according to my search in The Archivist, but more than two dozen people weighed in using @RideUTA's screen name)If you're not doing the Twitter, here's short-hand on the lingo: the first name you see is the speaker, and the second name is the person to whom that person is addressing their message.


@kevinDwhite  @RideUTA One thing I & others are struggling with is why UTA fares are so high when compared with other larger transit systems.(link)

@kevinDwhite @RideUTA It's not just that fares are going up it's the ratio of fare/stops. When compared to other cities UTA is high cost but low service.(link)

@kevinDwhite @RideUTA When I compare TRAX I think of Portland, Denver, Seattle. All of which provide better transit options at lower upfront cost. (link)

@kevinDwhite: agree RT @carty64: I know I get snarky w @RideUTA, but I love that they actually have a discussion with the public (link)

@HeyDebHenry @RideUTA I would nver advocate cutting srvice. Dont put wrds in my mouth. Im advocating ovrhaul of where you spend $ like on ur overpaid CEO (link)

@HeyDebHenry @RideUTA "this economy" is the perfect time to lobby since transit investment creates more jobs and more returns on investment than roads (link)

@Ryanmer @RideUTA It's more than just a 'proposal.' I paid $4.50 ($2.25 each way) this morning. http://twitpic.com/3vt7id

@Ryanmer What a surprise. @RideUTA raised their fares — yet again — without any kind of notice. (nothing posted at stations, nothing on website, etc) (link)

@Ryanmer Spent the morning arguing with a local public transportation Twitter account. I can't think of a better way to spend Groundhog Day.(link)

And from UTA, the agency taking all the heat: 

@RideUTA @jhunt47 Not really. We already have the largest service area in the nation...We have plans to try a Park City commuter shuttle though. (link)

@RideUTA Join us on the blog, where we are talking about the fare proposal: http://ow.ly/3OVlR (link)

If you want to see more of the reaction to the fair hikes, start by reading @RideUTA's Twitter feed. As mentioned above, even the critics of UTA appreciate that the agency responds to its critics, even Twi-tics.Go to http://twitter.com/RideUTA

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Jesse Fruhwirth

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