Located in the picturesque state of Utah, Salt Lake City boasts a comprehensive public transportation system that offers residents and visitors a convenient and eco-friendly way to get around the city. From buses to TRAX light rail, FrontRunner commuter rail, and paratransit services, the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) provides an extensive network of transportation options.
Want to learn more?
This guide will explore how to navigate Salt Lake City's public transportation system like a local. We'll cover everything from understanding the services offered by UTA, including their coverage area and connectivity, to learning about schedules and routes through online resources and mobile apps, as well as printed schedules and route maps.
Getting to Know the System
The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) is the primary agency providing public transportation in Salt Lake City. UTA offers various services, including buses, TRAX light rail, FrontRunner commuter rail, and paratransit for individuals with disabilities.
Ready to navigate the system like a local?
- Buses are the most common mode of public transportation in Salt Lake City, with numerous routes covering a wide area.
- TRAX is a light rail system with three lines that serve downtown Salt Lake City, the University of Utah, and the Salt Lake City International Airport.
- FrontRunner is a commuter rail system connecting Salt Lake City with other regional cities.
- Paratransit is a specialized service for individuals with disabilities who are unable to use regular UTA services.
Coverage area and connectivity:
UTA's services cover a wide area in and around Salt Lake City, making reaching many popular destinations such as downtown, universities, shopping areas, and tourist attractions possible.
UTA's services are also interconnected, allowing transfers between buses, TRAX, and FrontRunner to facilitate seamless travel throughout the city.
Fares and Passes
Understanding the fare structure and payment methods is crucial when using Salt Lake City's public transportation system. UTA offers various types of passes and discounted fares for different riders, making it important to familiarize yourself with the options available.
Fare structure and payment methods:
UTA's fare structure includes one-way fares, day passes, and monthly passes. Fares can be paid using cash, contactless payment methods such as UTA GoRide mobile app, or a reloadable contactless smart card called FAREPAY.
But remember this.
It's important to note that UTA does not accept paper tickets or coins as fare payment on buses.
Types of passes:
UTA offers several passes to suit different needs. Check out the different options below.
- Single-use tickets are valid for one trip and can be purchased on buses or at ticket vending machines.
- Day passes allow unlimited travel for a day and can be purchased on buses, at ticket vending machines, or through the UTA GoRide mobile app.
- Monthly passes offer unlimited travel for a calendar month and can be purchased online, at retail locations, or through the UTA GoRide mobile app.
Discounted fares for seniors, people with disabilities, and low-income riders:
UTA offers discounted fares for seniors (65 and older), people with disabilities, and low-income riders. These discounted fares require eligibility verification and can be obtained through the UTA Reduced Fare ID Card program.
Where to purchase passes and tickets:
UTA provides multiple options for purchasing passes and tickets.
- Online and mobile app options allow for convenient purchase and reloading of fares.
- Ticket vending machines are available at TRAX stations and major bus stops.
- Retail locations like grocery and convenience stores also sell UTA passes and tickets.
Navigating the TRAX Light Rail System
TRAX is a popular mode of public transportation in Salt Lake City, providing convenient and efficient travel within and beyond the city. Here are some tips for navigating the TRAX light rail system:
Understanding the lines and routes:
TRAX has three lines - the Red Line, the Blue Line, and the Green Line. Each line serves different areas of the city, with the Red Line connecting the University of Utah to the Daybreak community, the Blue Line connecting the Salt Lake City International Airport to Draper, and the Green Line connecting West Valley City to the Airport.
Checking schedules and routes:
UTA provides detailed schedules and route maps for TRAX on their website, mobile app, and at TRAX stations. It's important to check the schedules and routes to plan your trip and ensure you catch the right train.
Boarding and riding the train:
TRAX stations are marked with signs and have platforms where you can wait for the train. When the train arrives, wait for the doors to open before boarding. Once on board, find a seat or hold on to the handrails for safety. TRAX trains have digital displays and announcements that indicate the next stop so that you can keep track of your destination.
Taking the Bus Around Salt Lake City
Buses are another popular mode of public transportation in Salt Lake City, providing extensive coverage throughout the city and connecting to TRAX and FrontRunner stations. Here are some tips for taking the bus:
Understanding bus routes and stops:
UTA operates numerous bus routes in Salt Lake City, with different route numbers and destinations. It's important to check the bus route and stop closest to your starting point and destination using UTA's website, mobile app, or printed schedules and route maps.
Boarding and paying the fare:
Buses have designated stops, often marked with signs or shelters. When the bus arrives, ensure you are visible to the driver and signal to the board. Board through the front door and pay the fare using cash, a FAREPAY card, or contactless payment methods. If you need a transfer to another bus or TRAX, ask the driver for one when paying your fare.
Finding a seat and tracking your stop:
Buses have seating available on a first-come, first-served basis. If you need to stand, hold on to the handrails for safety. Buses have digital displays and announcements that indicate the next stop, so you can keep track of your destination and signal the driver to stop when you're ready to get off.
Riding the FrontRunner Commuter Rail
FrontRunner is a commuter rail system that connects Salt Lake City with other cities in the region, offering a convenient option for longer distances. Here are some tips for riding FrontRunner:
Checking schedules and purchasing tickets:
FrontRunner operates on a fixed schedule, with trains departing at specific times. It's important to check the schedules beforehand and plan your trip accordingly. FrontRunner tickets can be purchased online at station ticket vending machines or through the UTA GoRide mobile app.
Boarding and finding your seat:
FrontRunner stations have platforms where you can wait for the train. When the train arrives, wait for the doors to open before boarding. Once on board, find a seat or hold on to the handrails for safety. FrontRunner trains have digital displays and announcements that indicate the next stop so that you can keep track of your destination.
Transferring to other UTA services:
FrontRunner stations are often connected to TRAX and bus stops, making it possible to transfer to other UTA services for your final destination. Check the schedules and transfer options beforehand to plan your trip efficiently.
UTA offers paratransit services for individuals with disabilities who are unable to use the regular fixed-route buses or TRAX. These services provide door-to-door transportation within designated areas and require advance reservations. To use paratransit services, you must be eligible and apply through UTA's ADA Paratransit program. It's important to familiarize yourself with the eligibility requirements, reservation process, and policies before using paratransit services.
Additional Resources and Tips
Here are some additional resources and tips to help you navigate Salt Lake City's public transportation system like a local:
UTA website and mobile app:
UTA's official website (www.rideuta.com) and mobile app (UTA GoRide) provides up-to-date information on schedules, routes, fares, and service alerts. The app lets you plan your trip, purchase tickets, and track your bus or TRAX in real-time.
Transit centers and hubs:
Salt Lake City has several transit centers and hubs where you can transfer between TRAX lines, buses, and FrontRunner. These transit centers are convenient for planning trips and connecting to different services.
Planning your trips in advance is important, especially if you have transferred or need to catch a specific bus or train. Check schedules, routes, and fare options before heading out to ensure a smooth and efficient journey.
Be prepared for weather conditions:
Salt Lake City experiences different weather conditions throughout the year, including snow in the winter. Make sure to dress appropriately and check for any weather-related service alerts or changes in schedules.
Safety and security:
UTA is committed to providing safe and secure public transportation. Follow UTA's rules and regulations, be aware of your surroundings, and report any suspicious or concerning behavior to UTA or local authorities.
Navigating Salt Lake City's public transportation system can be a convenient and cost-effective way to get around the city and its surrounding areas. By familiarizing yourself with the fare options, routes, schedules, and additional resources, you can confidently travel like a local and enjoy the benefits of using public transportation.
Ready for a day out on the town?
Now that you have this guide plan a day to visit some of the best recreational activities in Utah! If you live at Ely at American Fork, see what your neighborhood offers so you can enjoy a day out on the town.
Remember to plan ahead, be prepared for weather conditions, prioritize safety and security, and utilize available resources for a seamless and enjoyable transit experience in Salt Lake City.