(KCPW News) Everyone will ride free on Utah Transit Authority buses, TRAX and Frontrunner trains on February 12. UTA General Manager John Inglish announced Learn to Ride Day at a press conference this morning as a way to increase ridership and improve the air. But a heckler in the crowd asked him why UTA doesn’t offer free fares on red air quality days.
“Because of the financial crisis I mentioned,” Inglish said. “What I want you to do is commit, when you’re riding on that free-fare day, to come back and pay for it next time and keep riding and riding and riding regularly.”
Governor Gary Herbert, mayors from cities along the Wasatch Front, and state lawmakers joined Inglish on the Capitol steps to urge the public to join the Clean Air Challenge and help improve air quality. In 2009, Salt Lake Valley residents who participated voluntarily eliminated more than a million driving miles, reducing emissions by 1.8 million pounds.
Governor Herbert said the state is doing what it can to improve air quality and bring Utah back into compliance with the federal Clean Air Act.
“We’re doing everything we can to meet those minimal federal air quality standards, so that part is taking place. But it’s just not enough,” Herbert said. “We’re just saying, everybody has a role to play. If we’re looking for somebody else to do it, ‘Well, you fix it,’ when in fact, you ought to say ‘Hey, I’ve got to fix it, I’ve got to do some things differently.’”
The Clean Air Challenge asks the public to drive less, combine trips, carpool, ride bikes and public transportation, and stop unnecessary idling in order to reduce emissions.