UTAH (ABC4) – UTA riders will be able to enjoy transit services for free on Thursday and Friday, September 1 and 2 as part of the “Free Fare for Clean Air” days in an effort to improve air quality along the Wasatch Front.

Ride fare will be free on all UTA services including buses, TRAX, FrontRunner, paratransit, and more to encourage Utahns to consider using public transit as an alternative to driving. GREENBike will also be providing a special promo code for 24 hours of free service during the Clean Air days. At any GREENBike station, riders can use promo code 8121 to take advantage of the free ride.

“The free fare days we’ve had during this program have been very successful,” said Carlton Christensen, UTA Board of Trustees Chair, in a release. “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.”

During UTA’s Free Fare for Clean Air in August 2021, UTA saw immediate success from the program. Bus ridership increased by 5% while the FrontRunner ridership increased 12%. According to UTA, the program saw new riders make up 19% of the trips taken. UTA held its next free fare days just before the holidays on December 21 and 22 in 2021. 

The free fare days come as the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) calls for Mandatory Action days due to unhealthy pollution levels forecasted across the Wasatch Front. The current forecasted pollution levels are currently unhealthy for sensitive groups, including those with asthma and heart disease.

According to the DEQ, it is recommended that sensitive groups can be active outside, but should take more breaks and do less intense activities. Those sensitive to the pollution level should watch for symptoms such as coughing or shortness of breath as signs for a break or to head back inside.

“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 the quality of life all around.”

The Free Fare for Clean Air program is made possible by a coordinated partnership between the UTA, the DEQ, the Utah State Legislature, Utah Clean Air Partnership, and the Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah. Funding for the program was made possible by House Bill 353 which was sponsored by Representative Joel Briscoe in 2019.

UTA riders can pre-plan their trips through UTA’s Transit App, which is available in the App Store and on Google Play.

A full schedule for all of UTA’s services can also be found at www.rideuta.com