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Recent Free Fare Days Saved 5 Tons of Air Pollution

Remember when Salt Lake City partnered with Salt Lake County, Davis County, Intermountain Healthcare, and UTA to host Free Fare Days on Feb. 28 and March 1? The official UTA press release results are posted below! But first, follow Mayor Jackie Biskupski on her donut delivery quest the first day of free rides . . .

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

UTA MEDIA RELEASE

FREE FARE DAYS ON UTA SUCCESSFUL

Agency sees ridership increases throughout the system

The results from UTA’s Free Fare Days on February 28 and March 1 show a 16% increase in boardings for the entire system. Using the average weekday boardings in February 2019 as a baseline (151,933 boardings system wide) overall ridership on Thursday, February 28 jumped to 171,664 and on Friday, March 1 there was an even larger increase to 181,365 passengers.

Free Fare Days were sponsored by Salt Lake County, Intermountain Healthcare, the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Office and Davis County in partnership with UTA.

“UTA is excited about the ridership increases we saw during the Free Fare Days and would like to thank the sponsors who made it possible,” said UTA Board Chairman Carlton Christensen. “We are especially pleased with the ridership increase we saw on the bus system. UTA has been focusing on increasing bus service and we wanted people to try riding the bus on the Free Fare Days. We look forward to upcoming plans to increase frequency, expand service hours and add weekend service on the bus system.”

Compared to 75,479 average weekday boardings in February 2019 bus ridership increased 10%. On Thursday February 28, 82,489 passengers rode UTA buses and on Friday March 1 the number improved to 83,818. This increase in bus ridership stands out in comparison to the previous free fare event in December 2017 when bus ridership did not increase by a noticeable margin.

Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson said, “This is evidence people will change their patterns if cost is addressed. I’ll be working with UTA and partners to find ways to address going forward, especially during inversions.”

TRAX experienced a 14% increase during the two free fare days, with a daily average of 65,366 riders. A typical day in February saw TRAX carry 57,319 boardings. On Thursday February 28 TRAX ridership increased to 64,420 boardings and on Friday March 1 the number grew to 66,312 riders.

“Free Fare Days consistently show that when you remove burdens from transit, people take it,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski. “What leaders should take away from these results is that investing in transit pays off, both in terms of clearing our air and creating equity in our community.”

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Help Clear the Air! Sign up for the February Challenge

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Transportation emissions are responsible for nearly 50% of the pollutants that make up our poor air quality. These pollutants become a serious concern during the winter months when normal atmospheric conditions (cool air above, warm air below) become inverted. This allows the air quality in the valley to become filled with particles that can quickly become unhealthy.

While there is much work being done to reduce those emissions (better transit, cleaner vehicles, more active transportation), the fact is– we can and should all help. We can each be a #CleanAirChampion.

There are many ways to participate! They all help the air and give you points in the Challenge:

  • Ride the bus or train
  • Bike or walk to work
  • Link your errands together when you are driving (aka “trip chain”)
  • Skip the trip by working from home or saving that errand for later

It all adds up!

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The Utah Division of Air Quality estimates that if every driver along the Wasatch Front were to give up driving for just one day per week, it would keep 6,500 tons of emissions (or 85 times the weight of the International Space Station) out of our airshed.

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Green Holiday Guide

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SLCgreen’s “Green Holiday Guide.” It’s snow bunny approved.

 

During the holiday rush, sustainability may not be the first thing on your mind. Fortunately, there are a number of measures you can take to ensure your festivities are more eco-friendly and sustainable.

We’ve compiled these actions into a convenient Green Holiday Guide. No matter how you celebrate, we at SLCgreen hope you find this information helpful and wish you the best of times and a very happy New Year!

Christmas Trees

One great option for your home Christmas tree is a live native potted tree. When you’re done with it, plant it after the holidays or let it live on as a house plant. As an added bonus, a live tree will absorb carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen for cleaner air.

Check with your local nursery or garden center for advice on the best type of tree, depending if you are planning to replant or keep it inside.  If you can, hold off and plant it in late March or early April. This will increase the tree’s chance of surviving long term.

If you go for a cut tree, use the compost bin to dispose of it after the holidays. Make sure to cut it up so it fits in the bin and remove any tinsel or non-organic decorations (Just be sure to dispose of it before the wintertime suspension of compost bin collection, beginning the week of January 22, 2018).

If you can’t cut up your tree for the compost bin, no problem. Leave it curbside and we’ll be by during the month of January to collect it.

No matter what you do, do not burn your tree. Burning anything during the winter is horrible for our air quality (Burning during “air action” days is also against State regulation and violates Salt Lake County Health Department rules).

Energy efficiency

When stringing up lights this season, think “less is more.” For the lights you do put up, go for LED lights, which are 80-95% more efficient than traditional bulbs and will last longer. (This is a good reminder to switch out any other traditional light bulbs you may have in your home for LEDs too!)

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LED lights look great on me!

Make sure you have your lights on a timer so they only are on when you want them to be. Some LED Christmas lights are even solar powered! Read more

UTA HIVE: Trax, Buses, and S-line Streetcar for $42/mo.


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by Colin Green

Another summer has come and gone, can you believe it? The days are getting shorter and the fall equinox is right around the corner. Crisp morning air greets us as we step outside, sending kids off to school and beginning our morning commutes.

Autumn is a time of fresh starts and new routines. This transition is a great time to build positive habits that will carry smoothly into the busy year ahead.

We’d like to encourage you to consider integrating a lower emission commute into your routine this fall.

Around the globe, urban transit is the single greatest source of transportation related emissions and it’s growing. By riding public transit, even a few days a week, you can do your part to reduce emissions.

Driving alone in your vehicle is also a major source of local air pollution. Did you know that over 50% of Salt Lake City’s air pollution comes from transportation?  By building public transit into your routine, you can make a difference on a local and global level.

The Hive Pass can help you do that! This Salt Lake City subsidized program, which launched several years ago, offers City residents half off the monthly UTA pass!  Read more

Salt Lake City’s Popular ‘Hive Pass’ Again Available to Residents

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Following a highly successful pilot program last year, deeply discounted transit passes are again available exclusively to Salt Lake City residents.

Dubbed Hive Pass 2.0, this Salt Lake City program, in partnership with the Utah Transit Authority (UTA), continues to offer residents easier access to mass transit by reducing the cost of a UTA monthly adult pass by 50 percent.

“Our Hive Pass program has created a great new, and very affordable, way for residents to make public transit a regular part of getting around,” said Mayor Ralph Becker. “Not only does it create new mobility options, but using the Hive Pass makes a great contribution to addressing our air quality challenges, reduces traffic and helps make our community an even better place to live, work and play.”

Residents can purchase the Hive Pass for only $42 a month. Pass holders have access to unlimited rides on UTA buses, TRAX light rail, and the S-Line streetcar. The program also provides a $2.50 discount on one-way FrontRunner and Express bus trips. Hive Passes can be purchased for any amount of consecutive months up to a full year and will be activated on the first day of the month for which it is purchased. A 12-month purchase comes with an additional 10 percent discount.

Passes are sold Monday through Friday at the following locations and times. Customers must live inside Salt Lake City boundaries and bring a photo ID and two additional forms of eligibility documentation (proof of residence) to purchase a Hive Pass.

Salt Lake City & County Building
451 S. State Street
Treasurer’s Office, Second Floor
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Salt Lake Public Utilities Office
1530 S. West Temple St.
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Sorenson Unity Center
1383 S. 900 West
4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

To learn more about the Hive Pass, determine your eligibility and learn how to get your pass, visit www.ridewithhive.com, e-mail  ridewithhive@slcgov.com or call 801-596-RIDE (7433).

Encouraging Alternative Transportation: e2 Best Practice Series

The April Best Practices session was held at Impact HUB, Salt Lake City’s newly completed headquarters at 150 S. State Street. In one of their beautifully finished lecture rooms, the group enjoyed sandwiches from Even Stevens while hearing presentations from Bike Utah, the Governor’s Office of Energy Development, and Utah Transit Authority.

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Phil Sarnoff, Director of Bike Utah, started off the session with a look at the policy and advocacy work his organization is doing to make Salt Lake City an ever more bikeable community.

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Richard Brockmyer of Utah Transit Authority discussed new projects UTA is currently pursuing, including First Mile/Last Mile. Richard explained that the first and last mile of travel when using public transportation are the most crucial, and so UTA has unveiled a suite of strategies for improving that ridership experience, including facilities for bikes and vanpooling service.

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The lunch session finished off with a group discussion where the attendees could pose their own questions and thoughts with the speakers from Bike Utah, UTA and Governor’s Office of Energy Development. There were many questions for Blake Thomas of O.E.D. about the work being done in his office to support for alternative fuel vehicles in Utah.

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Hive Pass Pilot Program Moves from Study to Evaluation Phase

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Monday, September 29, 2014

The Hive Pass pilot program, an innovative and experimental transit pass idea–the first of its kind in the country–will conclude the initial phase of study and sales on Tuesday, Sept. 30 and move into an analysis and evaluation period. The Hive Pass allowed Salt Lake City residents to purchase an annual transit pass at a significant discount.

Hive Passes will remain on sale through Tuesday at three locations in Salt Lake City. Visit http://www.ridewithhive.com for details. Residency verification is required.

Mayor Becker originally proposed this unique idea to UTA as part of his Administration’s ongoing work to mitigate air quality issues by addressing the largest contributor to dirty air–vehicle emissions. The program also sought to provide better access specifically for lower income residents by making a monthly payment plan available and by initiating a voucher program to invite broader participation from a variety of organizations. Some 100 passes were distributed to residents in need through the voucher program.

The pilot program was also geared to evaluate if, by making transit more equitable, accessible and convenient, rider habits could be positively impacted. According to the results of a survey administered to residents who purchased Hive passes, significant changes occurred. Survey results show that:

  • Among those who responded to the survey, over 90 percent of Hive Pass users were satisfied with their purchase
  • Among respondents, 44 percent said they now use transit every day and only 23 percent had used transit every day before the Hive Pass
  • A similar increase was seen among residents who went from being infrequent users to regular users
  • Thirty-seven percent said they began using public transportation because of the Hive Pass

A complete copy of the survey results can be found here: http://www.ridewithhive.com/survey.pdf

Per the terms of the agreement between the City and UTA, the two agencies will now enter into an evaluation period in which both entities will work together to process all of the information collected during the pilot, evaluate the pilot and make recommendations about how to apply what’s been learned from the experiment going forward. While regular Hive Passes will not be available during this evaluation, the voucher program will continue.