MAX (Utah Transit Authority)

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UTA MAX logo.svg
35 MAX - Magna to Millcreek bus.jpg
SloganYour Fast Connection to TRAX[citation needed]
ParentUtah Transit Authority (UTA)
FoundedJuly 14, 2008[1]
LocaleWasatch Front, Utah, U.S.
Routes3500 South MAX[2]
Provo Orem MAX (under development)[3])
5600 West MAX (planned)[4]
Murray Taylorsville MAX (planned)
HubsMillcreek TRAX Station
West Valley Intermodal Hub
Fleet10 Van Hool low-floor buses
Daily ridership4,100 average corridor weekday riders (3500 South MAX)[5]
Fuel typeDiesel
OperatorUTA MAX

MAX[Note 1] is a bus rapid transit (BRT) service operated by Utah Transit Authority (UTA) along the Wasatch Front in Utah, United States. It is described by UTA as "light rail on rubber tires". As of December 2016 there is only one line in service so far (in Salt Lake County), but several more are planned (including one in Utah County).[10]


MAX has service improvements that differ from regular bus service, such as Transit Signal Priority (TSP), increased spacing between stops, high-frequency service, and improved stops.[10] With few exceptions, a MAX line has limited stops (at MAX, TRAX, or FrontRunner stations).[Note 2] Whenever reasonably possible, MAX operates along "guideways" (dedicated lanes separated from regular traffic by curbs). The guideways are more than just a bus lane, since all other traffic is prohibited from using the guideways, including other UTA buses. The first such guideway was built in West Valley City on 3500 South from 3600 West to 2700 West.[5] Another characteristic that distinguishes MAX from regular bus service is that it does not have a set schedule for all of its stops (although there are estimated times for arrival). MAX leaves its first stop and travels as fast as legally and safely possible to the end of the line, never waiting or stopping at stations (except to drop off or pick up passengers). The unique buses used on the MAX lines are also larger (wider and longer) and feature wider isles and a distinctive exterior paint scheme (which includes a large white "X" on each side of the bus).[10] The first MAX line (3500 South MAX) opened on July 14, 2008.[1][10]

The MAX bus shelter at the Millcreek TRAX Station

Another feature of MAX is that passengers may enter the unique buses by any of the three doors and do not have to show proof of fare upon boarding. Although fare payment (including the use bus tokens) can be made at the farebox upon boarding the front of the MAX bus, each MAX station has a ticket vending machine that accepts cash or credit cards.[11][12][Note 3] However, fares are enforced through random checks by UTA Transit Police, the same way as they are on streetcars, TRAX, and the FrontRunner.[14] The fare for MAX is the same as for local bus service or TRAX and, like TRAX and FrontRunner tickets, MAX tickets also serve as a transfer to other UTA modes of transit.[10][15] MAX lines (routes) are designated by an "M" at the end of the route number (for example, 35M).[2]

All of UTA's TRAX and FrontRunner trains and stations, streetcars and streetcar stops, and all fixed-route buses, are compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act and are therefore accessible to those with disabilities.[16] However, ADA boarding on MAX's unique buses is at the center door, rather than the front (as is the case with regular bus service). In accordance with the Utah Clean Air Act and UTA ordinance, "smoking is prohibited on UTA vehicles as well as UTA bus stops, TRAX stations, and FrontRunner stations".[17]

MAX lines[edit]

Current MAX lines[edit]

3500 South MAX[edit]

The 3500 South MAX[2] line connects Magna with the West Valley Central TRAX Station in West Valley City and the Millcreek TRAX station in South Salt Lake, traveling along a route of 10 miles (16 km) on 3500 and 3300 South (SR-171).[18] It is the first of several BRT lines that UTA is planning in the Salt Lake Valley and Utah County.[19] Costs for the project totaled $7 million; a light rail extension along the same route would have cost $100 million.[19] Original plans were to discontinue MAX service between the Millcreek and West Valley Central TRAX Stations once the West Valley extension of the TRAX Green Line was completed. However, even though the Green Line began service in August 2011, as of May 2014, service between the two TRAX stations still continues.[2] The 3500 South MAX runs Monday through Saturday (no Sunday service) from about 6:00 am to midnight (every fifteen minutes on weekdays and every half-hour on Saturdays).

Utah Valley Express[edit]

The Utah Valley Express (UVX) line will connect the Orem Intermodal Center (FrontRunner station) with Utah Valley University (UVU), Brigham Young University (BYU), and the Provo Intermodal Center FrontRunner station along a route of approximately 11 miles (18 km).[20] The initial anticipated route (Phase I) for the BRT line will begin at the Orem Station and head east on University Parkway (SR-265/1300 South) to pass by the south side of the UVU campus. After passing along the south side of the University Mall, it will head southeast toward Provo and the junction of University Parkway and University Avenue (US-189). It will then connect with a stop on the southeast side of BYU campus by continuing east along University Parkway. It will then loop around the east side of BYU campus on North 900 East before returning to, and heading south along University Avenue.[21] It will then stop at the Provo Station before passing by the Provo Towne Centre mall, making a loop through the East Bay Business Park, and finally retracing its route back to the Orem Intermodal Center.[22]

In Phase II, the west end of the BRT line will be rerouted directly east from the Orem Station along 800 South and connect with the UVU campus by way of a high-occupancy/toll (HOT) interchange overpass. It will then pass by the north and east edges of UVU before reaching University Parkway and continuing along the remainder of its original route. Along with the reroute, the single MAX station on the south side of the UVU campus will be replaced by three new stations along the east and north sides of campus."[23]

Future MAX lines[edit]

A MAX line are planned along 5600 West in Salt Lake County. Studies for the feasibility of BRT are also being conducted areas in the Taylorsville/Murray area (4700 South) and the Holladay/Cottonwood Heights area (Wasatch Boulevard) and other areas. BRT lines are also being considered for Davis County.[18] and along 5400 South, 12600 South, Redwood Road, State Street, and Highland Drive.[24] In the coming years a total of 80 miles of BRT lines are planned along the Wasatch Front.[5] On July 8, 2014, Davis County unanimously approved a resolution in support of a BRT route connecting downtown Salt Lake City with Bountiful.[25]

5600 West MAX[edit]

As part of the Mountain View Corridor Project a BRT line, the 5600 West MAX, will be built along 5600 West (SR-172/SR-134) in Salt Lake County. This project has three phases. Phase I will include BRT service along 5600 West between 6200 South (Bennion Boulevard) in Kearns and 2700 South in West Valley City. Upon reaching 2700 South it will then connect with Downtown Salt Lake City (including the via 2700 North, Bangerter Highway, 21st South Freeway, and I-15. Phase II will extend BRT service further south through West Jordan to 11800 South in South Jordan and further north to I-80 and the Salt Lake City International Airport. (This Phase II extension would also included connections with the Airport, 5600 W Old Bingham Hwy, South Jordan Parkway, and Daybreak Parkway stations.) However, in Phase III it is anticipated that the entire 5600 West MAX will be replaced by a TRAX line along the same right of way.[4]

Murray Taylorsville MAX[edit]

The Murray Taylorsville MAX is a BRT project that is anticipated to connect the Murray City Center with the Murray Central Station and the main campus of Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) in Taylorsville with nine stations along the way. The anticipated route will begin in the Murray City Center, north of the Intermountain Medical Center. It will then run west along Vine Street (5090 South) to Murray Boulevard, connecting with the Murray Central Station along the way. It will then head roughly northwest to 4500 South (SR-226) along the following streets: Murray Boulevard, Murray-Taylorsville Road (4800 South), Sunstone Road, and Atherton Drive. Heading west along 4500 South, in dedicated lanes, it will then turn north along Redwood Road (SR-68) until in reaches the SLCC campus. The hope is, depending on funding, to have the Murray Taylorsville MAX completed by 2016.[26][27]


  1. ^ The meaning and origins of the name "MAX" have never been identified or specified by UTA (as it has in the case of TRAX, which is a shortened version of "Transit Express").[6][7] However, the term MAX, as a shortening of Metropolitan (or Metro) Area Express, has been used in conjunction with bus rapid transit (BRT) since June 2004 by the Metropolitan Area Express in the Las Vegas Valley in Nevada[8] and since July 2005 by the Metro Area Express in Kansas City, Missouri[9]
  2. ^ Many "stops" or stations on a MAX line actually consist of two separate stations, one for each direction of travel, usually on opposite sides of the road and sometimes on opposite sides of an intersection. On sections of the line where MAX has dedicated travel lanes (guideways), the stations are located in the median of the road.
  3. ^ Although some of UTA's ticket vending machines previously accepted bus tokens as payment, as of September 1, 2008, none of UTA's ticket machines accept bus tokens.[13]


  1. ^ a b Hollenhorst, John (July 14, 2008). "UTA launches MAX bus service". Salt Lake City: Deseret Digital Media. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d "UTA MAX". Utah Transit Authority. Retrieved January 13, 2013.
  3. ^ "Provo Orem BRT". Utah Transit Authority. Retrieved March 10, 2014.
  4. ^ a b "5600 West BRT". Utah Transit Authority. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
  5. ^ a b c Hancock, Laura (April 6, 2010). "UTA 'bus-rapid' line running on 3500 South". Deseret News. Salt Lake City: Deseret Digital Media. Retrieved March 28, 2013.
  6. ^ Van Eyck, Zack (October 28, 1997). "New names may put TRAX on the map". Deseret News. Salt Lake City: Deseret Digital Media. Retrieved March 28, 2013.
  7. ^ "Utah Transit Authority's TRAX Salt Lake City Light Rail". Utah Rails. March 3, 1997. Retrieved March 28, 2013.
  8. ^ "RTC to celebrate 20 years of providing public transportation in our valley". Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada. Retrieved March 26, 2013.
  9. ^ "FACT SHEET: "MAX" - Metro Area Express" (PDF). Kansas City Area Transportation Authority. October 2009. Retrieved March 26, 2013.
  10. ^ a b c d e "Bus Rapid Transit" (PDF). Utah Transit Authority. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 21, 2013. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
  11. ^ "Dining on MAX Millcreek Station to Magna". Utah Transit Authority. November 5, 2010. Retrieved March 10, 2014.
  12. ^ "Current Fares". Utah Transit Authority. Retrieved March 18, 2013.
  13. ^ Madsen, Cheryl (August 23, 2008). "UTA ending token program". Deseret News. Salt Lake City: Deseret Digital Media. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  14. ^ Arave, Lynn (May 25, 2008). "'Bus Rapid Transit' coming soon to 3500 South". Deseret News. Salt Lake City: Deseret Digital Media. Retrieved March 18, 2013.
  15. ^ "MAX-TRAX service to begin at station". Deseret News. Salt Lake City: Deseret Digital Media. July 13, 2008. Retrieved March 28, 2013.
  16. ^ "Fixed Route Accessibility". Utah Transit Authority. Retrieved March 13, 2013.
  17. ^ "Rider Rules". Utah Transit Authority. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
  18. ^ a b Warburton, Nicole (February 3, 2008). "UTA plans bus rapid-transit line". Deseret News. Salt Lake City: Deseret Digital Media. Retrieved March 28, 2013.
  19. ^ a b Salt Lake Tribune (July 13, 2008). "UTA set to unveil speedy MAX bus route". Salt Lake City: MediaNews Group. The Associated Press. Retrieved July 13, 2008.
  20. ^ Pugmire, Genelle (March 11, 2014). "BRT: Council reverses decision, requests bids". Daily Herald. Provo, Utah: Lee Enterprises. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
  21. ^ "Option 4" (PDF) (Map). Retrieved March 10, 2014.
  22. ^ "Preferred Alternative" (PDF) (Map). Retrieved March 10, 2014.
  23. ^ "Figure 3.4-1 Land Use in the Study Area" (PDF). Utah Transit Authority. April 12, 2011. pp. 3–91. Retrieved March 26, 2013.
  24. ^ Davidson, Lee (January 19, 2011). "Bus rapid transit coming to 5600 West —but when?". The Salt Lake Tribune. Salt Lake City: MediaNews Group. Retrieved March 28, 2013.
  25. ^ Jacobsen, Morgan (July 9, 2014). "UTA gains Davis County approval for bus rapid transit route". Deseret News. Salt Lake City. Retrieved July 13, 2014.
  26. ^ Davidson, Lee (January 19, 2011). "UTA planning new SLCC express bus route". The Salt Lake Tribune. Salt Lake City: MediaNews Group. Retrieved March 28, 2013.
  27. ^ "Taylorsville-Murray Transit Environmental Study Report" (PDF). Utah Transit Authority. p. 34. Retrieved August 3, 2013.

External links[edit]