Utah Transit Authority officials, along with a few select legislators, have jetted to Europe to check out the latest innovations in mass transit and get ideas for future projects in the Beehive State.
The next time they journey to the motherland to learn about cool new gadgets, they might want to pay attention to the customer-service attitudes over there.
I have written recently about two separate incidents. In one, a man and his son were separated from his invalid wife and his two small grandchildren when the doors to FrontRunner closed before he could get off and would not open again. In the other, a woman and several others were stranded at midnight in an industrial area at 2100 South because they were unaware the late Saturday night TRAX train ended at that stop. Nobody at UTA seemed concerned about the potential dangers of their situation.
Here's a story from a Utah couple who were on vacation in Paris recently and took the Metro to the Montmartre area, where they then took the funicular tram up the steep mountain to the Sacré-Coeur basilica.
After touring the grounds and church, the couple were on their way back down but became separated as people pushed onto the tram. The doors closed, with the wife onboard and the husband still outside on the platform.
Everyone on the car watched him standing at the top as the tram descended. Once at the bottom, a half dozen employees, who had been alerted by colleagues at the top, gathered around the wife and wouldn't let her out of their sight. They remained with her on the ride back to the point where the couple were separated and insisted she stay on the car with them until she and her husband were reunited.
But they're all socialists over there, right?
Speaking of socialists • One Salt Lake Valley couple faced a similar castaway episode last year, when the TRAX red line shut down halfway along the route because of Saturday night schedules.
But, in their case, two UTA employees went the extra "miles" to help the customers.
The couple had gone to the Foo Fighters concert at the Maverik Center, which has a stop on the green line to West Valley City. They live near 4800 West and the Old Bingham Highway, which has a stop on the red line route to nearby Daybreak.
After the concert, several passengers boarded the green line for home when they were informed the train would go no farther than Central Pointe at 2100 South and 221 West, where all three lines red, green and blue converge.
The late trains end there so they can be stored for the next day. But that stranded a bunch of Foo Fighter fans.
After a consultation, two UTA employees decided to go rogue and get the passengers home. Most needed the blue line train to the south valley, so the driver went to the end of that line and came back to Central Pointe. The couple needing the red line train were accommodated by the other worker, who drove them in a UTA van.
It was fitting the employees decided to go off script to help some folks who had been at the Maverik Center.