UTA kicks off ‘Free Fare February’ for all buses and trains

Jan 25, 2022, 1:54 PM | Updated: Feb 1, 2022, 6:55 am

Officials gather to celebrate the Utah Transit Authority's new TRAX airport station, marking the cu...

Officials gather to celebrate the Utah Transit Authority's new TRAX airport station, marking the culmination of 20 months of construction extending TRAX to the new airport terminal, in Salt Lake City on Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. (Scott G. Winterton/Deseret News)

(Scott G. Winterton/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — In an effort to reduce air pollution, the Utah Transit Authority announced all fares on its services will be free in February.

This includes all UTA bus and rail services, Ski Bus, paratransit service, the Park City-SLC Connect and UTA On Demand in southwestern Salt Lake County and Salt Lake City – Westside.

“Salt Lake City will continue to fight for clean air, through policies, programs and education. Our efforts are much more effective, though, when we have valley- and state-wide partners who join in,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall. “Free Fare February is an example of that type of collaboration and I’m excited to see the impact this change has not only on Salt Lake City’s air quality, but on our neighboring communities as well.”

Masks are still required on all UTA services under a federal order from the Transportation Safety Administration. Children under 2 years of age as well as employees and riders who have a medical condition preventing them from being able to wear a mask are exempt from the mask requirement.

UTA has previously held fare-free days to reduce vehicle emissions and air pollution. This will be the first time a fare-free period covers an entire month.

“UTA has held several free fare days with support from our partners,” said Carlton Christensen, UTA Board of Trustees chair. “We are excited to build on that success with Free Fare February, continuing efforts to increase awareness about how we can improve our air quality by riding public transit.”

Officials said government agencies and local businesses are sponsoring Free Fare February, including Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi and Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell. The Salt Lake City Council has pledged to contribute up to $50,000 to support the effort as well.

The Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah, a nonprofit that promotes clean energy, said Free Fare February is a good fit for its mission.

“With our growing population here in Utah, it is crucial to work on air quality strategies now, so we don’t backtrack on our air quality progress. Public transportation is an essential element, and removing the cost barrier in February will help the public and lawmakers fully understand its potential in future infrastructure,” said Meisei Gonzalez, a communications associate at HEAL Utah. “Utah is in a unique position where we are still developing roads and new neighborhoods. With this growth, we are responsible for doing it in the most environmentally responsible way possible, and public transportation could be the answer to part it.”

Customers who purchased a February monthly pass can contact Customer Service at 801-RIDE-UTA if they want a refund. In response to Free Fare February, all purchased February monthly passes will be accepted as valid fare for the month of March.

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UTA kicks off ‘Free Fare February’ for all buses and trains