UTA ridership spikes during ‘Free Fare February’

Apr 6, 2022, 3:35 PM
FILE (Photo: Ravell Call, Deseret News)...
FILE (Photo: Ravell Call, Deseret News)
(Photo: Ravell Call, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utahns could not resist the pull of a free ride on UTA trains and busses during the “Free Fare February” experiment, according to a just-completed report.

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall proposed the idea in December as a way to cut pollution during what is typically one of the poorest air quality months along the Wasatch Front.

The UTA Board of Trustees approved the month of free fares on January 26, 2022.


“The success of Free Fare February proves that people are far more likely to ride public transit when barriers like cost are removed and I can’t wait to work with our partners to find more opportunities to expand free transit,” said Mendenhall.


A news release said UTA services increased in February were up by large margins compared to January.

UTA said it saw ridership averages grow significantly on all services. Ridership on weekdays increased 16%, FrontRunner grew 35.7% for the month, and UTA On Demand saw a 23% increase.

Saturdays saw the biggest increases with Frontrunner up a whopping 202%, 74.5% for Trax, and overall ridership up 58%.  Average ridership on Sundays increased 32.5% overall, 144% on UTA On Demand alone.

Mendenhall said, “UTA and all of our partners have been tremendous for buying into this idea and making an air quality advocate’s dream come true.”

UTA said 5,000 riders responded to a survey that showed more than half of them used UTA services in February because it was free and 87% said they were likely to keep riding on UTA if services were free.

An analysis by UTA found the air quality benefit increased as much as 67% according to the news release.

“We’re proud to work with our state, regional, and local partners for cleaner air in Utah,” said UTA Board of Trustees Chair Carlton Christensen. “Free Fare February was a success. Transit is part of a healthier, vibrant quality of life in Utah. We encourage everyone to ride UTA instead of driving, you can help counter the negative effects of harmful pollution and reduce congestion on our roads and highways.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Cottonwood High lines up for a free kick following a fair catch against Jordan High. (KSL Sports)...
Andrew Adams

Coach, kicker & official reflect on Cottonwood High’s rare, game-winning play

Cottonwood defeated Jordan High after the Colts attempted and converted a free kick for three points with 12 seconds left following a fair catch on a punt.
4 months ago
Karah Brackin

Utah Veterans head to Washington D.C. for ‘trip of a lifetime’

75 veterans left Salt Lake City for Washington D.C. Tuesday morning.
4 months ago
Clark Aposhian, chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council, introduces himself as a member of a n...
Ashley Imlay, KSL.com & Aimee Cobabe, KSL NewsRadio

Supreme Court declines to hear Utah gun rights activist’s appeal to overturn bump stock ban

A prominent Utah gun rights activist has lost his bid to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the federal bump stock ban.
4 months ago
Yvette Rodier, shooting survivor...
Amy Donaldson, KSL Podcasts

LETTER PODCAST: Victim says bullet wounds were easiest part of recovery

When Yvette Rodier woke up in a hospital, she knew, even before anyone told her, that her friend, Zachary Snarr, was dead.
4 months ago
Housing construction....
Ladd Egan

Unaffordable Utah: Mortgage rates climb again as buyers look for price reductions

Utah's housing market is whiplashing as last year's buying frenzy seems to have slowed down to signs of a recession.
4 months ago
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage

Get Gephardt: How cybercriminals use social engineering to get us to hand over our sensitive info

You can have the strongest, most secure password in the history of cybersecurity, but the bad guys know there is one weakness they can use to hack into your system - you!
4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
UTA ridership spikes during ‘Free Fare February’