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UTA will reduce service temporarily amid virus spread

Utah Transit Authority will offer free transit to all passengers on Election Day, the agency voted Wednesday -- waving fees for all services UTA provides. (UTA Headquarters in Salt Lake City. Credit: Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — UTA announced Friday it would temporarily reduce service because of decreased ridership in the last month, likely due to people limiting travel to avoid spreading a virus.

Utah Transit Authority reports ridership has decreased in the following areas:

  • Bus ridership is down 56%
  • FrontRunner ridership has decreased roughly 75%
  • TRAX ridership has dropped 60%
  • Paratransit ridership has fallen 75%

UTA will begin reducing service April 5, noting the “ongoing effort to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus while keeping riders and employees safe and ensuring fiscal responsibility,” according to a statement.

UTA service available for essential travel

The public transit system said this will allow UTA to focus on providing critical resources to those who depend on the transportation for essential needs.

UTA will release a new ride schedule, though not to the public just yet. However, the agency expects for fixed bus routes to maintain regular hours on weekdays, adjusting the frequency from six minutes to 15 minutes — while also suspending some commuter bus routes.

UTA service on TRAX will go from every 15 minutes to every 30 minutes, while FrontRunner will adjust from every 30 minutes to once an hour.

On Saturdays, fixed bus routes will change from a 15 minute frequency to 30 minutes, while other bus routes will remain the same. Bus routes will remain the same on Sundays.

TRAX will extend frequency from 20 minutes to 30 minutes for both Saturday and Sunday.

The FrontRunner will maintain its Saturday schedule, and continue not to operate Sundays.

UTA implements further cleaning measures

Despite the decreased ridership, UTA said it will continue its service as fewer customers means there’s a greater chance for social distancing.

“The safety of UTA’s riders, employees and community remains our top priority throughout this pandemic,” according to a statement. “UTA continues to follow the recommendations of health and safety experts. ”

The public transport company reports it has implemented additional cleaning and disinfecting measures to protect UTA riders against the spread of the virus.

“UTA advises riders to be mindful of others and practice social distancing on vehicles and at bus stops and rail platforms,” UTA said in a statement. “Anyone who is sick or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 is encouraged to stay home.”

Related stories:

Man tested for coronavirus removed from a TRAX car

Second Salt Lake City Councilmember tests positive for COVID-19

A good sign, but possible problems on horizon due to COVID-19 in Utah

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

State of Utah:  https://coronavirus.utah.gov/

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States

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