3 UTA board members take up challenge, ride public transportation for 1 week

Posted at 10:52 PM, Sep 08, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-09 00:52:13-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Last month a group of citizens challenged the UTA Board of Trustees to do something they do every day -- ride public transportation.

It’s called the #7DayUTAChallenge. The goal is to ride nothing but public transportation for one week straight. No cars allowed.

Out of the 15 board members, three of them decided to participate.

“Seems to me that if we are going to be in charge of the bus system we have a responsibility to ride it, know what it’s like,” said Necia Christensen, one of the board members to participate.

On Monday she rode the bus from her West Valley City home to the grocery store.

“I’ve learned that I can’t go everywhere I want without a lot of walking. I had blisters the first day because I had to go someplace I wasn’t prepared for in the appropriate shoes,” Christensen said.

Once inside the bus Christensen is eager to learn what riders think of the overall service.

Keith Bartholomew and Board President Gregory Hughes were the only other board members to participate.

“Three people out of a board of 15, that’s kind of disappointing to me,” said Alex Cragun, who presented the challenge to the board back on Aug. 27. “Four members said no, and then the remaining members I have not heard back from.”

Cragun, who rides UTA every day, said it was very ironic that a few board members told him that they couldn’t accept the challenge because it will interfere too much with their job.

“The whole entire point of the challenge is that it affects people’s jobs, it affects their livelihood, to take public transportation when they have no other choice they are going to have to make sacrifices,” Cragun said.

Christensen said this week has certainly opened up her eyes.

“I truly believe that we need to offer more service,” Christensen said.

She also said she would encourage her fellow board members who haven’t taken the challenge to do so.

“I believe it’s a real advantage to the board members to know what it’s like, most of us ride some, some of us ride more, and some of us don’t ride at all,” Christensen said.

Cragun said it’s not too late for the other board members to participate.

The citizens behind the challenge plan to attend the next meeting on Sept. 24 and ask those board members who did participate what they learned.