TOOELE COUNTY — When most people along the Wasatch Front hop a ride with UTA, they usually take buses, TRAX or FrontRunner.
That won't work for Suzanne Black of Stansbury Park. "I need transportation for everything," Black said. She depends on transportation for shopping, medical appointments and visiting the senior center.
"It's my way of life. If we didn't have transportation here, I would probably have to move into the city,” she said.
Black used to ride a UTA mini bus that was, unfortunately, discontinued. “I had no transportation," she said.
On Thursday, Black headed to the senior center on a shuttle, all thanks to a partnership between UTA and Tooele County aging services. It’s all part of a program called “Coordinated Mobility.”
"We can make more trips for those people who really need them," said UTA Coordinated Mobility director Ryan Taylor.
How would someone get around in a spread-out county if one did not have a car, access to a regular bus or train route? UTA is trying to solve that problem by working with communities on their specific needs.
UTA works with county aging services, including the United Way and other nonprofits. The agencies arrange the rides, and UTA facilitates federal grant money and vehicles.
"It's built to meet the needs of the community," Taylor said.
In Utah County, UTA is working with the United Way to recruit volunteer drivers for vans. "It's really about partnerships,” Ryan said. “It's about working with a nonprofit that has a specific group of clients that needs help.”
Black and other passengers must reserve her ride 24 hours in advance online at utahridelink.com or over the phone. If not for the Coordinated Mobility program, Black said she’d be in a tough spot.
"Otherwise, I would be completely isolated, or I would have to depend on hiring cab service," she said.
Contributing: Xoel Cardenas