Salt Lake Co. Health Dept. giving out UTA cards for free rides to improve air quality

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FILE: A photo of a UTA Trax Train.

SALT LAKE CIT Y – The Salt Lake County Health Department and the Utah Transit Authority announced a pilot initiative to provide county residents with passes to ride public transit.

Because motor vehicle emissions account for around 50 percent of the most dangerous air pollution in the Salt Lake Valley, health officials are asking residents to avoid driving, especially on inversion days.

“Air quality experts tell us that choosing to take transit during these times can make a significant difference in air quality,” Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams said. “’We’re excited to offer this pilot initiative that helps encourage Salt Lake County residents to try public transit.”

The transit passes come via a UTA FAREPAY card preloaded with $10 (which equates to 4 trips on TRAX and buses).

The quantity of the cards in this initial pilot effort is limited to 2,000, which will be distributed 500 at a time, first-come–first-served, according to the schedule below:

Saturday, January 31
1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Salt Lake Chinatown
3370 South State Street
South Salt Lake

Wednesday, February 4
5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
Valley Fair Mall
3601 South 2700 West
West Valley City

Monday, February 9
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
The District
11400 South Bangerter Highway
South Jordan

Thursday, February 12
5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
South Towne Center
10450 South State Street
Sandy

Card recipients may use their new FAREPAY cards immediately after activating them online at farepay.rideuta.com, and they may add additional funds to their cards at any time.

“FAREPAY cards allow us to track usage and learn whether this is an effective incentive for our residents,” Gary Edwards said, SLCoHD executive director. “If this pilot initiative is well-received and helps residents use transit instead of driving during periods of poor air quality, there is potential for us to offer this opportunity again in the future.”

The health department is funding the $10 FAREPAY balance preloaded on the cards, while UTA is covering the $3-per-card activation fee charged by the card vendor.

Riders using FAREPAY cards get 20 percent off cash fare through June 30, 2015.

Information from Salt Lake County Health Department