Survey gives UTA high approval marks

Transit • Agency rates lower on financial performance than it does overall.
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On a scale of one to seven, the public gives the Utah Transit Authority an overall approval rating of about a five.

"That's pretty good," Communications Director Andrea Packer told UTA board members in a committee meeting Wednesday. The agency performs annual surveys through Dan Jones and Associates about what Wasatch Front residents think about its service.

When residents were asked to rate UTA overall, they gave the agency an average score of 5.21. When asked to rate how well UTA makes use of public money, they gave it an average of 4.71.

Packer said the survey asked riders of UTA buses and trains to rate their overall satisfaction. Riders gave UTA buses a 5.29 (up from 5.24 a year earlier), TRAX a 5.99 (down from 6.07 a year earlier) and FrontRunner a 6.1 (down from 6.4).

Packer told the board that UTA scores have generally improved over recent years —¬†and noted that several years ago, the agency received low scores on such things as vehicle condition and cleanliness that she said have vastly improved.

The survey also found that only 14 percent of Wasatch Front respondents had never used a UTA bus, and 17 percent had never used TRAX. It also found that 72 percent of bus riders have cars available to them, as do 91 percent of TRAX riders.

However, the board also heard that UTA receives plenty of phone calls from concerned customers. It received 53,011 "customer concern" calls last year. Of those, 10.2 percent were complaints about unpleasant interactions with UTA employees, 8.6 percent were about UTA vehicles that passed customers without stopping, and 7.3 percent complained about late trains or buses.

However, 7.8 percent of the callers commended UTA employees for good service. Packer said commendations have ranked in the top three categories of customer comments for several years.