SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — With the kickoff of Pride Month celebrations in Utah taking place over the weekend, a UTA bus decorated in a rainbow wrapping caused some commotion as it was suddenly replaced with an electric bus days before the festival.
UTA partnered with the Utah Pride Center to support the Utah Pride Festival by offering “ticket as fare” from June 2 to June 4, according to the website. While this was not openly contested online, the decorated bus was.
Just two days before the festival began, UTA posted on social media telling festival goers to “keep an eye out for our pride-wrapped bus on our system.” Some local politicians then commented and retweeted asking if taxpayer dollars were used to wrap the bus and raising concerns that Quasi-State agencies should not be political.
Prior to the festival, UTA replaced the pride-themed bus at the festival with a new electric bus. Following the festival, UTA released a statement addressing this “challenging situation” saying it was presented with “competing community interests.”
“We want to make it clear that it was never our intention to offend or disappoint any member of the communities we serve, including our valued employees. Our priority was to ensure the best interest of public transportation in Utah, while acknowledging the diverse voices and concerns within our community,” the UTA statement read.
UTA Sr. Media Relations Specialist Carl Arky said no taxpayer dollars were used to pay for the wrapping of the bus. All funds were donated.
Read the full statement below:
The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) reaffirms its unwavering dedication to fulfilling our mission of moving the community forward through partnership and collaboration. We understand the importance of actively engaging with our diverse community to ensure we provide the best possible service.
As we strive to balance various interests and cater to the mobility needs of all community members, UTA remains committed to our core principles. We work tirelessly to provide community-wide mobility solutions while ensuring accessibility and inclusivity for underserved or special needs groups within our community. Our goal is to create a transit environment that is safe, accessible, and welcoming to all.
Recently, UTA encountered a challenging situation that presented competing community interests. While diligently upholding our guiding principles, we decided to substitute a Pride-themed bus with one of our new electric buses at Sunday’s Pride Festival Parade in Salt Lake City.
We want to make it clear that it was never our intention to offend or disappoint any member of the communities we serve, including our valued employees. Our priority was to ensure the best interests of public transportation in Utah, while acknowledging the diverse voices and concerns within our community.
UTA remains steadfast in its commitment to supporting all the diverse communities across our service areas. We deeply value the contributions and feedback of our community partners, and we are committed to actively listening and engaging with them. We believe in continuously improving our mobility solutions to enhance the quality of life on the Wasatch Front.
We appreciate the ongoing support of our riders, employees, and the broader community, and we look forward to the future, where we can continue to work together for the benefit of all.