SALT LAKE CITY — Fans heading to the big rivalry game this weekend should have an easier time using public transportation this year than some did for last year's game.
The Utah Transit Authority is bolstering its commuter and light rail schedules for the Utah-BYU football game in Provo on Saturday.
Last year, UTA received criticism from some passengers who were left stranded following the late ending of the 2012 rivalry game at Rice-Eccles Stadium at the University of Utah. Passengers complained that trains did not run late enough to accommodate the late-leaving crowds and blamed poor planning by UTA.
This year, UTA is encouraging fans to ride FrontRunner and TRAX to the big game in Provo. The agency has scheduled more frequent and late night service to make taking transit a more convenient option, according to UTA spokesman Remi Barron.
The rivalry game will kick off at 8:15 p.m. on Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Prior to game time, FrontRunner trains will run every 30 minutes between 4:09 p.m. and 6:09 p.m. with trains before and after that time running on their normal hourly schedule.
In addition, UTA will offer direct bus service from some FrontRunner stations to LaVell Edwards Stadium. Route 830 will service the Orem and Provo FrontRunner Stations, as well as the Timpanogos Transit Center near the University Mall in Orem.
Following the game, UTA will extend bus service from LaVell Edwards Stadium to FrontRunner stations for 30 minutes after the game or later, if necessary.
“We will have FrontRunner trains standing by no matter what time the game ends,” Barron said. “Because these football games tend to end on their own schedule, we’re going to monitor the situation and have the trains ready to get people home.”
FrontRunner trains will run to Ogden, while select late-night TRAX service will also be extended, he said.
Passengers can access Blue or Red TRAX lines. Blue Line trains will serve TRAX stations between Murray Central and Draper Towne Center stations, while Red Line trains will service TRAX stations between Daybreak and University Medical Center. UTA warned that passengers must board at the Murray Central Station to ride commuter or light rail after the game.
On the Green Line, TRAX passengers can ride between the West Valley terminus and the North Temple/Guadalupe station located at 1940 W. North Temple. Trains will not run to the airport, Barron said.
He added that TRAX would not run from Salt Lake Central station during that time or serve the Old Greek Town or Planetarium stations. Fans are encouraged to buy round-trip tickets or a group pass to avoid long lines at ticket vending machines.
Also, game tickets to Utah/BYU may not be used as fare — that only applies to University of Utah home games, he said.
Barron also said that passengers can access the most updated information via social media. Customer service agents will monitor Twitter to answer questions about transit before and after the game. Whatever the case may be, he said the agency has plans in place to help passengers travel to and from the big game.
“We don’t know what will happen,” he said. “There might be a weather delay or an overtime game, but we’ll have our operators and trains standing by ready to take people back to where they came from.”
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: JasenLee1
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company