SALT LAKE CITY –The Frontrunner, TRAX and Utah Transit Authority bus lines will be free today and tomorrow for the second Free Fare Day offered by UTA.
The Utah Transit Authority is joining forces with Intermountain Health Care, the Salt Lake City Mayors Office, and Salt Lake and Davis County to offer their second Free Fare Day on all forms of transit in hopes to inspire more people to use public transportation and clean up Utah’s air.
“The impetus is coming from a lot of places in the community,” UTA spokesman Carl Arky told KSL.com. “We (had) a free fare day in 2017 and we saw a significant spike in ridership. I think that caught a lot of people’s attention.”
The last free fare day was held two years ago where the UTA said that ridership jumped by 22,000, which the agency says took 17,560 vehicles from the road and removed three tons of criteria pollutants and more than 200 tons of greenhouse gas from the air.
According to a press release from UTA, FrontRunner, in particular, saw a 66% jump in people riding the train. TRAX also saw an increase of 32% in ridership, and UTA busses saw a 23% increase as well.
This year, transit officials are hoping that more people will try riding the bus. UTA Chairman Carlton Christensen says that they’ve worked to increase the routes and frequency when the buses run and that many of their busses have been upgraded to cleaner-burning natural gas and electric vehicles in the fleet.
Arky said that he’s optimistic that there could be more free fare days in the future to aid in improving air quality concerns in the winter as well as reducing congestion on Utah’s roads.
HB353 that was sponsored by Rep Joel Briscoe (D – Salt Lake) was set up to organize and find funding to help commuters find “alternative transportation and work days,” which could include more Free Fare Days.
Arky told KSL.com that the Free Fare Days taking place Thursday and Friday are a test to see how willing the public responds to taking public transportation and help to show previous riders how much the UTA has improved.
“Everything is free in the system during Free Fare Days,” Arkey said, “every mode of transportation.”
“It’s a great way to sample UTA if people haven’t ridden it in the past, or if they rode it a long time ago and decided it wasn’t working for them,” he continued. “Come back; see if it’s changed. See if it’s improved.”
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