UTA offering zero fare, extended hours for NBA All-Star weekend

Feb 13, 2023, 5:15 PM | Updated: Feb 15, 2023, 3:41 pm

SALT LAKE CITYIf you want to go downtown or to the University of Utah campus for NBA All-Star weekend events, the Utah Transit Authority is making it easy. They’re offering free fares on TRAX, FrontRunner and UTA buses through next Tuesday.

It started Sunday, Feb. 12, and lasts through Tuesday, Feb. 21. The idea is to make it easier to get to All-Star weekend events at Vivint Arena and at the Huntsman Center on the University of Utah campus.

“It’s a lot more convenient than walking or driving because there’s nowhere to park downtown,” said Kateryna Pavlenko, a regular TRAX rider who was waiting for her train at the TRAX Arena Station earlier Monday.

Pavlenko is happy for the free fare, but she also believes visitors and locals are more likely to try UTA when it’s free. 

“It’s really exciting,” she said. “I feel like a lot of people could use TRAX, and maybe this would be a great introduction to what TRAX is. A lot more people could start using public transportation.”

That was a factor in the decision along with air quality. But so was reducing traffic when there are tens of thousands of visitors in town. Free fares make it easy for visitors to get around and for locals to see how the system works for them.

“We knew that this was a large event that was going to attract 100,000+ individuals,” said Carlton Christensen, chairman of the UTA Board of Trustees. “For the community to function well, all of the players knew that this would be an important week to encourage people to use transit.”

FrontRunner will also operate on Sunday. Starting Thursday, the green line will run around the clock through the weekend. The blue and red lines will also run until 2 a.m. during the long weekend.

“To make sure that everybody who rides our system gets home on time and can get there safely,” Christensen said.

“I think that’s great,” said Miguel Elizalde, a regular TRAX rider. “Sometimes I’ve been stranded somewhere because I missed my train, the last train, or the last TRAX. I think that will be helpful for many people.”

Download the RideUTA app to find out which routes and schedules work for you.

“If you’re on our system, it will put you at the door without having to have the hassle of parking,” Christensen said.

A year ago, it was free fares all February. The board chairman said that attracted more riders and ridership continued to increase beyond February.

For more of KSL TV’s coverage on the 2023 NBA All-Star Game, click here.

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UTA offering zero fare, extended hours for NBA All-Star weekend