Moab takes 'a big step' with launch of its 1st transit service

Moab is pictured on Sept. 17, 2021. The city is debuting its Moab Area Transit pilot program Thursday, which will run through Oct. 15.

Moab is pictured on Sept. 17, 2021. The city is debuting its Moab Area Transit pilot program Thursday, which will run through Oct. 15. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

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MOAB — Public transit service is coming to southeast Utah.

The city of Moab is set to debut its Moab Area Transit pilot program Thursday, which features both fixed-route service and on-demand microtransit service within a defined service area. Both will be fare-less throughout the test period.

Richard Lory, Moab's transit coordinator, said in a statement Tuesday that he believes the program, which will remain in place through mid-October, will become "an invaluable resource" for residents and visitors traveling around the city.

"It's a big step toward creating a more walkable city," he added. "This service will help to promote active transportation, decrease traffic and increase accessibility."

The fixed-route service will provide service with 13-passenger vans to popular stops along Main Street, as well as regular service between the Fairfield Inn and the Utah State University campus in Moab, according to the city. Officials explained that the goal is to reduce downtown traffic congestion while still getting people where they need to go in the Moab area.

The microtransit option is essentially a hybrid between a ride-share service and traditional public transportation, similar to services that other Utah transit agencies offer like the Utah Transit Authority and High Valley Transit.

People can download an app, operated by the vendor Downtowner, on their Apple or Android phones. From there, anyone in the service area can request a ride to anywhere else in the service area, where a 13-seat Moab Area Transit passenger van will provide door-to-door service. Anyone in the service area can also call 1-833-MAT-FREE to request a ride.

Both services will be available each day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. through Oct. 15.

The program was partially created through funds provided by the Utah Legislature and later dispersed to Moab through a $10 million grant by the Utah Department of Transportation, according to the city. The city and Grand County also contributed money for the pilot program.

Downtowner is also the vendor that runs Canyons Village Connect at Park City Mountain, among several other similar microtransit services in the U.S.

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Carter Williams is an award-winning reporter who covers general news, outdoors, history and sports for He previously worked for the Deseret News. He is a Utah transplant by the way of Rochester, New York.


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