HEALTH

With unhealthy air expected, UTA offers free fare days this week

Aug 30, 2022, 3:20 PM | Updated: Sep 2, 2022, 11:32 am
UTA free fare...
FILE -- Passengers board a TRAX train at Salt Lake City International Airport. (Ravell Call/Deseret News)
(Ravell Call/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — UTA free fare days are slated for this week, just ahead of more triple-digit temperatures and the possibility of unhealthy air.

The free fare days are this Thursday and Friday, September 1 and 2, and include rides on:

  • UTA buses,
  • TRAX,
  • FrontRunner,
  • the S-Line Streetcar,
  • Paratransit,
  • Park City-SLC Connect,
  • UTA On Demand, and
  • GREENBIKE stations.

The UTA free fare days are offered through a partnership with the Utah Legislature, the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, the Utah Clean Air Partnership, and the Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah.

They are not pre-planned, but rather are decided when air quality is projected to be unhealthy as determined by the Utah Department of Air Quality. Air quality in Davis and Salt Lake Counties is expected to fall into the orange zone, or, unhealthy for sensitive groups, this week.

Past free fare days have been a success according to UTA officials.

“We look forward to building on this success, further increasing awareness among the public about how they can help improve our air quality by riding public transit,” said Carlton Christensen, UTA Board of Trustees Chair.

The success of past free fare days is measured by increased ridership. UTA said that after the first Free Fare for Clean Air days in mid-August and mid-December, 2021, bus ridership increased by 5%, FrontRunner saw a 12% increase, and new riders were taking 19% of the total trips taken.

Utah lawmakers provided funding for the program through HB353 during the 2019 legislative session. The bill provides a half million dollars for fund Free Fare for Clean Air days.

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With unhealthy air expected, UTA offers free fare days this week