The Utah Transit Authority is encouraging Utah residents to try public transit by offering free rides across all its transportation platforms on Friday, Dec. 22.
As part of Free Fare Friday, there will be no cost to ride any of UTA’s transit, including regular and express bus, TRAX, FrontRunner, the S-Line, Ski service, the Park City-SLC Connect and paratransit service. The promotion is eligible for all six counties UTA services, including Utah County.
UTA created Free Fare Friday to demonstrate how taking public transportation can help reduce Utah’s inversion problem, especially since winter is considered inversion season.
“Eliminating fares for one day isn’t likely to have a significant effect on transit usage or air quality, but partnerships like this show that public officials know that better air quality can come with increased transit ridership, among other strategies,” said UTA President/CEO Jerry Benson in a press release.
Car and truck exhaust cause about 57 percent of wintertime air emissions.
“During winter inversions, one of the main pollutants is fine particulate matter called PM2.5, which is mostly caused by burning fuel and causes concern because these tiny airborne particulates can lodge in lungs and be hazardous to their health,” UTA wrote in a press release.
The Utah Department of Environmental Quality has a scale to measure air quality that ranges from good to hazardous. Salt Lake Chamber recently announced a “Zero Red Air Days” initiative, which is working to avoid the red zone on the scale. Red zones are considered unhealthy and encourage spending less time outdoors in order to avoid harm, especially for children and older adults.
“Efforts like Free Fare Friday contribute to the success of the long-term, multi-pronged strategy championed by many in our community, including government agencies, businesses, community groups, nonprofits, and committed individuals,” said Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams in a press release.
Free Fare Friday runs all day on Friday, Dec. 22.