HILL AIR FORCE BASE — Lower than expected ridership numbers will cause some notable changes to the Utah Transit Authority’s bus service at Hill Air Force Base next month.
Beginning April 12, the service will originate out of the Layton FrontRunner Station, 150 S. Main St., instead of the FrontRunner Station in Clearfield, which has been home for the service since it began last year.
Eddy Cumins, regional general manager of UTA’s Mount Ogden Business Unit, said switching over to the Layton station allows the transit agency to continue to provide bus service to Hill, while lowering the overall cost.
“The ridership hasn’t been what we’ve anticipated,” Cumins said last week. “So we’re trying to save a little money. At the Layton station, the north- and southbound trains arrive at the same time, so that will reduce some of our costs and allow us to provide the same service.”
UTA began the service to Hill one year ago. It operates Monday through Friday with two bus routes, known as the 664 and the 665, which service both the east and west side of the base. The service operates at peak service times from about 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. and from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., and makes about 20 stops on base.
As the state of Utah’s largest single-site employer with more than 20,000 employees traveling to the same place, Hill and UTA officials say the service makes sense, but the low ridership numbers are perplexing. In an attempt to spur ridership and visibility for the routes, UTA offered the service free of charge during in September, but numbers remain low.
“We want to keep this thing alive because we think it’s a good service,” Cumins said. “I think it’s just a matter of time before people start using it.”
Hill employees have a major financial incentive to use the service, Cumins said. Federal government employees can receive up to $130 every month to pay for travel between their homes and place of employment. UTA officials say the transit subsidy, along with other price reduction deals offered by UTA, essentially makes riding FrontRunner and the connecting buses free for Hill employees.
Base officials have gone on record several times to urge their employees to start using the service, saying it not only saves individuals money, but it helps improve air quality and reduce traffic congestion.
For more information about the program, visit www.hill.af.mil and search “UTA.” Applications for the Federal Transportation Benefit program can be submitted to the Hill Transportation Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 801-777-6144.