UTA proposes fare changes, seeks public comment

(Utah Transit Authority | Courtesy photo) This 2014 file photo shows a UTA fare enforcement surge.

The Utah Transit Authority is seeking public comment on tweaks that it is proposing to its bus and train fare structure.

The agency proposes to keep its base fare of $2.50 per ride the same, but it seeks several changes to discounts, passes and charges for premium and express services in what it calls a simplification of its fare structure. Changes would increase some prices and decrease others.

For example, it is proposing that all premium services would cost $5 a ride. That would boost the cost of ski bus and Park City Express buses from $4.50 to $5. But it would drop the cost of express bus routes from $5.50 to $5.

Also, the cost of a regular day pass for TRAX and bus would decrease from $6.25 to $5 (or twice the base fare). A regular monthly pass for bus and TRAX would increase from $83.75 to $85. And a premium bus pass covering bus, TRAX and FrontRunner service would decrease from $198 to $170.

It proposes to decrease a 40% discount on bus fare for those who use electronic FAREPAY cards ($1.50) a ride to a 20% discount ($2 a ride).

It proposes boosting a 25% discount on monthly passes for youths and Horizon cardholders for low-income people to 50% to align them with discounts for seniors.

UTA also plans other changes, including eliminating its use of bus tokens, and doing away with a 30-day Park City bus pass.

More information about those and other changes is available online at rideuta.com/farechanges.

UTA began a 30-day comment period about the changes Wednesday, which will run through Aug. 21. People may comment by email to hearingofficer@rideuta.com; by calling 801-743-3882; by going online at UTA’s website; or by writing to: Utah Transit Authority, C/O Megan Waters, 669 W. 200 S., Salt Lake City, UT 84101.

UTA also has scheduled an online hearing about the proposed changes for Aug. 6 at 6 p.m. that will be broadcast through its YouTube channel and on its Facebook page.

UTA officials say they aim to make the changes Nov. 1.

The agency has been working all year to simplify what has become a complicated patchwork of at least 74 levels of discounts, promotions and negotiated deals.

It is so complicated that the agency said earlier this year in response to an open records request by The Salt Lake Tribune that it has no idea how many of its tens of millions of passenger rides each year are free or discounted, and how many people pay the full $2.50 cash fare for a one-way trip.

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