As a sign of how unusually busy downtown Salt Lake City was last weekend, TRAX ridership was 141 percent higher than normal last Saturday and 54 percent higher on Friday.
That came amid such big events as the Comic Con science fiction and fantasy convention — with 50,000 tickets sold, a James Taylor concert with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Utah State Fair, the Greek Festival and a University of Utah football game on Saturday.
Utah Transit Authority spokesman Remi Barron said that on Friday, TRAX had 86,544 boardings, up 54 percent over the previous Friday. FrontRunner had 16,644 boardings, up 40 percent.
On Saturday, TRAX had 82,565 boardings, an increase of 141 percent over the previous Saturday. And FrontRunner had 15,119, up 129 percent.
The increases came as UTA is offering free return trips to anyone who takes TRAX to the State Fair, and as University of Utah football tickets are good for free UTA fare all day on game days. The university paid UTA $300,000 to allow that for a variety of sports tickets this academic year.
"We worked with the city to add extra service" because of all of the events, Barron said. The city has asked people to use TRAX to help reduce congestion.
Barron said UTA watched crowds at different venues to ensure it had enough trains at the right times. For example, the University of Utah had a 70-7 blowout against Weber State, and many people left early. "So we had to get some trains there a little earlier than expected," Barron said.
Also when the BYU football game had a two-hour rain delay in Provo, "We had to make arrangements to run FrontRunner trains late."
Barron said, "We had a lot of good comments from passengers on social media thanking us for adding extra service."
Copyright 2013 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.