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Free UTA passes used for 25,000 boardings in July
Mass transit » Agency contends program prevented the release of 67 tons of air pollution.
First Published Aug 20 2014 11:33 am • Last Updated Aug 21 2014 09:15 pm

The Utah Transit Authority figures it eliminated 67 tons of vehicle emission pollutants last month through the distribution of free passes.

UTA distributed 6,000 free weekly passes for use in July and early August, funded by its sponsor, the Salt Lake Board of Realtors. It says recipients used them for nearly 25,000 boardings — about four one-way trips per pass.

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The free RideClear passes were good for seven consecutive days of unlimited use on buses, the streetcar, TRAX trains and FrontRunner commuter trains. Announced through social media, they were distributed at various times online or at stations, usually disappearing quickly.

UTA calculates the July program helped take 14,038 cars off the road.

July is usually one of the two worst months for air pollution along the Wasatch Front, although it is not as visible as winter inversions. UTA started the pass giveaways with corporate sponsors last summer — when it distributed 4,000 free passes that were used for 20,000 boardings.

This winter, it also gave away 7,000 free passes used for 28,500 boardings between Feb. 17 and April 7.

"This initiative clearly shows that people in our community care about improving air quality," said Micheal Allegra, president and CEO of UTA. "We’re enthusiastic about how frequently RideClear passes were used and hope it helps introduce new riders to an environmentally friendly mode of transit."

ldavidson@sltrib.com




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