On the corner of 700 South and State Street, a metal post marking a UTA bus stop sticks out from the ground, standing alone like a stray antenna on the surface of Mars.
The pole stands next to an abandoned building. There is no shelter, no shade, no escape from the 96-degree heat. As a reporter stands in wait on a recent Tuesday afternoon, a stocky man with unkempt hair walks up and scans southward. Dozens of cars zoom by, spewing exhaust under the blinding sun. There’s no bus coming on the horizon, so the man walks away.
Like many public transportation systems across the United States, Salt Lake’s bus and light-rail network leaves much to the imagination. Even in the best cases, the routes operated by the Utah Transit Authority often seem governed by a googly-eyed calculus—everyday rides transforming into grueling treks as passengers walk lengthy distances to transit stops, endure long waits and end up stranded when services stop in less-populated areas or after rush-hour commutes.
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