UTA Announces “Free Fare for Clean Air” Days Thursday and Friday, September 1 and 2
Part of program funded by the Utah State Legislature to increase awareness and encourage transit use on bad air quality days
Meisei Gonzalez: Meisei@healutah.org
In partnership with the Utah State Legislature, the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Utah Clean Air Partnership (UCAIR), and the Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah (HEAL Utah), the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) is holding Free Fare for Clean Air days on Thursday and Friday, September 1 and 2, 2022.
The fare will be free 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 special promo code during the free fare days providing 24 hours of free service. Just enter promo code 8121 at any GREENbike station.
“The free fare days we’ve had during this program have been very successful,” said Carlton Christensen, UTA Board of Trustees Chair. “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.”
The first Free Fair for Clean Air days were held August 12-13, 2021 and resulted in a 5% increase in bus ridership and a 12% increase in FrontRunner ridership. New riders accounted for over 19% of trips taken, and 70% of survey respondents said they did not use a vehicle to reach transit. The next free fare days were held December 21-22, 2021.
The Free Fare for Clean Air program is part of a science-driven effort to improve air quality along the Wasatch Front by helping encourage more people to consider using transit as an alternative to driving. Funding for the free fare days was made possible by House Bill 353 (HB353) sponsored by Representative 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.”
The decision to declare free fare days is coordinated between UTA and DAQ based on science and health risk. The DAQ constantly monitors Utah’s air shed to identify when levels of ozone as well as particulate matter are unhealthy. When unhealthy pollution levels are forecast, the Division calls a Mandatory Action Day, which indicates critical periods when Utahns should avoid high-emitting activities such as wood burning, operation of gasoline-powered yard equipment, and extensive automobile usage. For more information, visit air.utah.gov.
“The Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah is excited to continue partnering with the Free Fare for Clean Air days,” said Lexi Tuddenham, Executive Director of HEAL Utah. “This program has helped gather crucial data that our state policymakers can use to create comprehensive policy solutions for mitigating air pollution and promoting Smart Growth in the Wasatch front.”
Plan your trip by downloading the Transit app, available in the App Store or Google Play. You can also visit www.rideuta.com to view schedules and maps or plan a trip with Google Transit. If you need more assistance, please call UTA Customer Service at 801-RIDEUTA (801-743-3882) between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
For more information on Free Fare for Clean Air, visit www.rideuta.com/freefare.
About HEAL Utah
The Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah: The Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah (HEAL Utah) has been an environmental advocacy organization, watchdog, and strategic influencer in Utah since 1999. By empowering grassroots advocates, using science-based solutions, and developing common-sense policy, HEAL has a track record of tackling some of the biggest threats to Utah’s environment and public health — and succeeding. The organization focuses on clean air, energy and climate, and radioactive waste. HEAL uses well-researched legislative, regulatory, and individual responsibility approaches to create tangible change and then utilizes grassroots action to make it happen. www.healutah.org.