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UTA to offer free fares on all services Thursday and Friday

By Daily Herald staff - | Aug 15, 2023

Daily Herald file photo

People sit on a bus to warm up while waiting to ride the FrontRunner train in Provo on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012. Lines to ride the new line between Provo and Salt Lake City on Saturday's free ride day were so long that UTA brought in several busses to give guests a reprieve from the cold.

In a bid to keep Utah air clean, the Utah Transit Authority is holding free fare days this Thursday and Friday.

A partnership with the Utah Legislature, Utah Department of Environmental Quality, Utah Clean Air Partnership and the Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah, UTA’s “Zero Fare for Clean Air” initiative offers free rides on all UTA bus and rail services, including bus, TRAX, FrontRunner, the S-Line streetcar, Paratransit, the Park City-SLC Connect and UTA On Demand.

GREENbike is also offering a free day pass on the same days.

While the UVX bus rapid transit line is always zero-fare in Provo and Orem, other buses and FrontRunner will also be offering free fares throughout Utah County.

“Riding transit is one of the best ways we can all improve air quality in Utah,” said Carlton Christensen, chair of the UTA board of trustees, in a press release. “We encourage the community to take advantage of this Zero Fare promotional opportunity and take transit to your destination. Every personal vehicle we leave at home or at a UTA parking garage makes a difference for everyone, not just those who ride UTA.”

In 2022, UTA held zero-fare days twice, with a February promotion spanning the entire month. According to UTA data, new riders accounted for 19% of trips, and almost 50% of respondents did not use a car to access transit. Zero-fare days in September also reportedly resulted in ridership increases of 12.7% on buses, 9% on FrontRunner and 5.9% on TRAX.

The Zero Fare for Clean Air program is part of an effort to improve air quality along the Wasatch Front by helping encourage more people to consider using transit as an alternative to driving. Funding was made possible by House Bill 353, sponsored by Rep. Joel Briscoe during the 2019 legislative session.

“Summertime ozone pollution is not something we can see like our winter inversions, but over the past few years, some of our worst air quality days have been in the summer months,” said DEQ Executive Director Kim Shelley. “Vehicles are the largest contributor to Utah’s air quality challenges along the Wasatch Front. We’ve seen that when we remove barriers to using public transit, people will make the choice that reduces pollution and improves quality of life all around.”

For more information on Zero Fare for Clean Air, visit www.rideuta.com/zerofare.


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