UTA Announces “Zero Fare for Clean Air” August 17-18 Part of program funded by the Utah State Legislature to increase awareness and encourage transit use on bad air quality days
Part of program funded by the Utah State Legislature to increase awareness and encourage transit use on bad air quality days
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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 Zero Fare for Clean Air days this Thursday and Friday (AUGUST 17 & 18). Zero Fare will be available 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 free Day Pass on these days; use the promo code 8123 in the GREENbike BCycle app.
“Riding transit is one of the best ways we can all improve air quality in Utah,” said Carlton Christensen, UTA Board of Trustees Chair. “We encourage the community to take advantage of this Zero Fare promotional opportunity and take transit to your destination. Every personal vehicle we leave at home or at a UTA parking garage makes a difference for everyone, not just those who ride UTA.”
In 2022, UTA held Zero Fare days in both February and September. February was Zero Fare for the entire month; new riders accounted for 19% of trips, and almost 50% of respondents did not use a car to access transit. Zero Fare days in September also resulted in ridership increases of 12.7% on buses, 9% on FrontRunner, and 5.9% on TRAX.
The Zero 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 Zero 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 Zero Fare days is coordinated between UTA and the Division of Air Quality (DAQ) based on science and health risk. The DAQ constantly monitors Utah’s 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.
“We are thrilled to see the upcoming Zero Fare Days initiative taking shape, as it not only promotes collective action towards reducing air pollution but also sets a positive course for future state policy on accessible public transit” said Lexi Tuddenham, Executive Director of HEAL Utah. “This project is a great step towards a cleaner and healthier future for all”
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-RIDE-UTA (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 Zero Fare for Clean Air, visit www.rideuta.com/zerofare.
About HEAL 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.