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Lower fuel costs unlikely to draw riders away from mass transit

Lower fuel costs unlikely to draw riders away from mass transit



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Soaring fuel prices prompted a lot of people to park their cars and take mass transit. But now gas prices are hovering near $3.00 a gallon, and a few may be feeling the temptation to get back behind the wheel.

UTA doesn't expect a lot of its riders will go back to cars, even with two fuel surcharges that are still in place. Many commuters who spoke with us agreed.

But to people like Brandon Yeates, time is a bit more of a temptation than it was just a few weeks ago. "FrontRunner takes longer, you know, and then having to catch TRAX and taking TRAX to the Gateway. It just takes more time," he said.

UTA says the surcharges are based on a national average fuel price over a quarter-year period. Those averages went up in the first and second quarters. Fuel prices began to fall significantly in September, the end of the third quarter. But the real change could be reflected after the end of the year.

UTA says it's too early to tell how the drop in gas prices has impacted ridership, though a representative doubts there will be a dramatic change.

E-mail: mgiauque@ksl.com

Marc Giauque

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