The Utah Transit Authority would like to thank everyone who helped keep the air clean by participating in the Ride Clear program. UTA recorded more than 20,008 boardings using Ride Clear cards, including 5,980 boardings on FrontRunner, 7,304 boardings on TRAX, 6,693 boarding on buses and 31 boardings on express buses.

“We are very pleased by the participation in this summer’s Ride Clear program,” said UTA General Manager Michael Allegra. “Every person who opts for public transportation helps preserve air quality and decrease summertime smog.”

The Ride Clear program was the result of a partnership between UTA and Zions Bank. Riders could use their Ride Clear pass to ride buses, TRAX and FrontRunner for seven consecutive days in July. The program was designed to encourage residents to reduce air pollution by leaving their cars at home and opting for public transportation.

Temperatures above 90 degrees contribute to ozone pollution, said Utah Division of Air Quality Director Bryce Bird, making it especially important to reduce vehicle emissions on hot summer days.

“Air quality is a particular challenge that we face here in Utah, and this July being the hottest on record has made it even more challenging,” Bird said. “Anything that we can do to reduce emissions by using public transportation will go a long way to helping our air quality situation.”

Riding public transit can help reduce the amount of smog-creating nitrous oxide, hydrocarbons, particulate matter and carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.  When full, a 2010 bus saves 15 tons of air pollutants and 271 tons of greenhouse gases annually. A light rail train, when full, saves 93 tons of air pollutants and 1,263 tons of greenhouses gases annually. The calculations are based on a Federal Transit Administration study that estimates 52 percent of passengers would drive if public transit was not available.

Based on the success of the program, UTA hopes to conduct similar efforts in the future.