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SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Transit Authority is rolling out a new color-coded routing system along with its shiny new TRAX trains.
Trains operating in the light-rail system Sunday are trying out the new configuration, which will use the colors red, blue and green to designate the various routes. The changes are expected to go into effect Sunday, Aug. 7.
"A full-system test will allow us to confirm system readiness prior to the opening of the new lines," said Michael Allegra, UTA general manager. "Every individual component has been tested separately and performed well. Now we will test how it all works together."
A full-system test will allow us to confirm system readiness prior to the opening of the new lines. Every individual component has been tested separately and performed well. Now we will test how it all works together.
Destinations listed on the electronic boards on the fronts and sides of TRAX trains Sunday also include color designations — RED, BLU or GRN. Another electronic board on the front of the new trains shine either red, blue or green, depending on the route.
The new TRAX routes will feature more stops, which may mean added convenience for some, but also an extra wait for others.
Under the new configuration, trains on the red line will run between the University of Utah Medical Center and Daybreak in South Jordan; the green line runs between West Valley and Salt Lake Central Station; and the blue line is the route between Sandy and Salt Lake Central Station.
The red line from central station to the University of Utah will require a new change over instead of the current, more direct route.
"You have to take a train all the way to the courthouse stop, wait ten or fifteen minutes, and then take a train up to the university," said Amy Larsen. "That just doesn't make sense to me when they have so much traffic going up to the university every day. Why wouldn't they just keep it the old way."
Trains are running throughout the system for Sunday's test, though no passengers are being picked up or dropped off on the yet-to-open Mid-Jordan and West Valley TRAX extensions.
We're almost doubling the length of our light rail system. We're adding five miles out to West Valley City. We're adding almost eleven miles out to Daybreak. So, this is a pretty expansive operation.
"They run really smoothly. I really like them," said rider Chloe Chapman. "They have a lot of announcements, so you know exactly where you're going."
Other riders noticed the extra space provided in the new TRAX trains.
"They're a lot more air conditioned, but the room is -- I think -- there's a lot less room because you have more people standing," said Keith Johnson.
So far, UTA officials say the tests are running smoothly, with only some minor hiccups. The new lines will represent about a $6 million increase in service with ridership expected to increase about 10 percent.
"We're almost doubling the length of our light rail system. We're adding five miles out to West Valley City. We're adding almost eleven miles out to Daybreak," said UTA spokesperson Jerry Carpenter. "So, this is a pretty expansive operation."
Along with the new lines opening up, several redundant bus routes will shut down. All of the changes will go into effect next week.
From 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday, UTA will conduct another test of the new configuration — this time allowing passengers to ride the Mid-Jordan and West Valley extensions as part of the grand opening festivities.
Also Wednesday, UTA is partnering with the Utah Food Bank for the "Food as Your Fare" food drive. Transit and food bank officials are encouraging riders boarding at one of the new stations to contribute a nonperishable food item as fare for riding the new lines.
More information on the "Food as Your Fare" program is available at www.rideuta.com.