Salt Lake City

Mayor Proposes New Residential Transit Pass Program to Address Air Quality

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 4, 2013
Contact: Art Raymond
801-547-2659


Mayor Proposes New Residential Transit Pass Program to Address Air Quality    
        
SALT LAKE CITY – On Friday, Oct. 4, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker announced a fresh solution to help improve air quality – a new type of transit pass that may soon be available to Salt Lake City residents, helping minimize the number of car trips that contribute to poor air conditions.
 
Mayor Becker proposed an innovative partnership with Utah Transit Authority to offer the new transit pass option. Under the plan, Salt Lake City residents would be eligible to purchase a one-year transit pass for $360. Residents could pay all at once or in 12 installments of $30/month, charged to their utility bill. This would be the first pass to be offered to municipal residents as a group, although the plan is modeled after similar bulk pass programs offered by UTA.

The purpose of the pass is to incentivize use of mass transit and improve air quality. Studies show residents are more likely to utilize mass transit when they are pass-holders. The pass would be good for UTA’s regular bus, TRAX and FrontRunner services. In just six round trips per month, residents could break even on their investment. There would be no limit on the number of passes purchased per household.

Mayor Becker was joined for the announcement by Councilman Stan Penfold, the City Council sponsor of the proposal; Utah Transit Authority General Manager Michael Allegra; Breathe Utah Executive Director Erin Mendenhall; Salt Lake Chamber Executive Vice President of Communication Marty Carpenter and other community leaders. Attendees lauded the program as an important step toward creating sustainable solutions to Salt Lake City’s air quality challenges.

The residential pass is proposed as a one-year pilot program and, if approved by the City Council, is expected to launch in early 2014. UTA expects that up to 6,000 passes could be sold.

 

Salt Lake City Resident Transit Pass

Program Basics

Purpose:

Offer an annual transit pass to Salt Lake City residents to incentivize transit use and make riding transit more convenient.

 

Basic Structure:

Salt Lake City residents will be eligible to purchase a one year transit pass for $360.  The passes will be available for purchase from Salt Lake City upon providing proof of residency.  Residents may pay all at once, or pay in 12 installments of $30 charged on their utility bill. 

 

The pass will be issued with the resident’s photo on it, and is non-transferable.  There is no limit per household.  The pass will be good on local and express bus, TRAX, and FrontRunner.  Ski bus, Park City Connect and paratransit services will be excluded from the pass.

 

The program is a unique partnership between UTA and Salt Lake City.  While modeled after other bulk pass programs offered by UTA for employees of eligible organizations, it’s the first pass of its kind to be designed for residents.

 

Benefits:

In just 12 local trips per month (6 round-trips), residents who opt in to the pass will have broken even on their investment.  Having a ‘pass in pocket’, residents are more likely to use transit.

 

Timeframe:

The program will launch in early 2014.  This pass is being implemented as a one-year pilot program.  If successful, UTA and SLC may choose to continue the program.  The program will be refined as needed and made available to other communities.

 

Basis:

UTA completed a random sample telephone survey to assess interest in purchasing this pass.  Based on results of the survey, up to 6,000 passes could be sold.

 

Work to be completed in the next few months:

  • Funding allocated from Salt Lake City Council (Pending decision)
  • Set join goals between UTA/SLC to define goals and positive outcomes
  • Set up administrative systems
  • Determine tracking mechanisms
  • Marketing  and public information
  • Materials preparation (passes, etc..)
  • Back-office functions for both UTA and SLC
    accounting procedures