Rising gas prices won't send Joe Taylor parking his car to ride the train -- he's already a commuter rail veteran.
Taylor hops aboard FrontRunner every weekday morning in downtown Ogden to commute to his job in Salt Lake City. He says he wouldn't have it any other way.
Driving the 80-mile round trip would cost him at least $200 a month; his train pass -- subsidized by his employer -- is just $12.
As pump prices inch upward, more of us may look to save some green by going green on public transportation. Even though FrontRunner has been around since 2008 and TRAX debuted in Salt Lake City in 1999, not everyone has ventured into the world of commuting en masse.
"Transit is still new to a lot of Utahns," says Tauni Everett, public relations manager for the Utah Transit Authority in Salt Lake City.
However, when the cost of gasoline goes up, Everett says, there are "huge spikes" in ridership on FrontRunner and other types of public transportation.
And, she adds, "It's not just about the money (people) save in gas prices, it's about the money they save in time."
Taylor, for instance, says he enjoys reading, catching up on the news or Facebooking during his hourlong commute.
"Most of the time, it's free time for me," the Ogden resident says, adding, "I can sit back and relax and watch the traffic go by."
Every weekday, Leroy Christensen of Midvale takes FrontRunner (plus TRAX and the bus) to get to Weber State University, where he is a full-time student and also works on campus.
"It allows me to do my homework," Christensen says of his two-hour commute to Ogden. Plus, he doesn't have to fight traffic jams or worry about finding a parking spot at Weber State.
And, he adds, "I'm an environmentalist; I try not to drive my truck that much just because it puts the carbon emissions in the air."
As college students, Christensen and Brian Bottoms of Ogden receive free passes to use all UTA transportation.
"The way the economy is right now, I can't afford a car and I can't afford insurance and I can't afford the gas," says Bottoms, who rides the bus to Weber State and takes FrontRunner regularly to visit his son in Salt Lake City.
Bottoms acknowledges public transportation isn't always as convenient as having a car, but he says that if we're going to turn around the poor economy, "We all must start making some sort of a sacrifice."
Socializing is another benefit to riding on the train, says Christensen, who meets students in his classes at Weber State that he's also seen on FrontRunner.
"Some of my best friends, I met on the train," he says.
Plus, says Cindy Stoeckl, who rides FrontRunner to get to her job in Farmington, sometimes you see funny sights during the commute.
"The other day on the train, somebody had their curling iron and blow dryer," the North Ogden resident says. "It was really kind of funny. ... There are plugs for computers, but this is the first time I've seen someone with a blow dryer plugged in. She had her whole vanity there."