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UTA says no fuel surcharge — even with high diesel prices

Apr 15, 2022, 1:57 PM
UTA passenger exits a Trax train...
A TRAX riders exits a train during Free Fare February in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022. Photo credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

SALT LAKE CITY — A dozen years ago, the Utah Transit Authority imposed a surcharge on bus and train fares when the price of diesel fuel rose past three dollars a gallon. On Friday UTA said it had no plans for a similar surcharge, even though the retail price of diesel is over five dollars.

UTA’s Chief Financial Officer, Bill Greene, said there’s no proposal on the table right now for a surcharge on passenger fares. 

“We haven’t discussed it, haven’t contemplated it yet, but I’m sure it’s one of the tools in our toolkit,” Green told KSL NewsRadio.

Greene said UTA buys about six million gallons of diesel fuel a year at wholesale prices, without the federal and state taxes that retail customers pay.

Its fleet of about 600 buses runs mostly on diesel, though an increasing number of buses operate on electricity or compressed natural gas. It has 54 hybrid diesel-electric buses as well.

“We’re heavily invested in diesel right now,” Greene said, “but we’re looking, like all other transit agencies, at low or no-emission vehicles, and we’re moving the fleet in that direction.”

The UTA board routinely reviews the agency’s fares, and Greene said it will be taking another look soon.

“The board sets our fare policy, and they set the fare rates. We’ll be going back to the board here, probably later this spring or early summer with a fare policy proposal,” Green said.

UTA hasn’t raised its basic adult fare of $2.50 for bus or train rides since 2013.

Related: How did UTA’s Free Fare February play out?

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UTA says no fuel surcharge — even with high diesel prices