Salt Lake City is served by a transit system called the Utah Transit Authority (UTA), Unlike many major cities, the UTA covers not just SLC, but the surrounding region as well, including Salt Lake County, Ogden, Utah County, and parts of Brigham City. While the UTA offers several ways to get around, people tend to take the bus and TRAX, a light rail network. Between the two, riders can get to many locations throughout the valley.
How to Ride the UTA Buses
With more than 120 routes, 6,200 stops, and a fleet of more than 400 buses, the UTA buses crisscross Salt Lake City and well beyond. Of Salt Lake City’s public transit options, you are most likely to use these during your trip. Fortunately, they’re easy to ride and are accessible to just about everyone.
- Fares: A single one-way ticket on UTA buses is $2.50 for adults, students, and youth. Seniors 65 and up as well as those who are qualified for reduced fare pay $1.50. If you’re a frequent rider, you can purchase a FAREPAY card and get 40 percent off bus fare.
- Passes: Day passes are $6.25. Monthly passes are $83.75 for adults, $62.75 for students and youth, and $41.75 for seniors and reduced fare riders.
- Routes and Hours: Depending on the route, buses run every 15 minutes, every 30 minutes, only during rush hour, or seasonally (ski buses). Times that each route operates can vary widely. In general, there is more service on weekdays, with many routes starting around 5 a.m. and continuing until midnight or 1 a.m. On weekends, service starts later in the morning and usually ends by 8 p.m. If you require service early or late, make sure to check the schedule carefully for the date you’re traveling.
- How to Pay: There’s a variety of ways you can pay to ride UTA buses. You can pay in cash on the bus, buy a pass online, use a FAREPAY card, or use the GoRide app on your phone.
- Transfer Information: Transfers can be made between buses for two hours after you purchase a ticket or tap your pass.
- Accessibility: All of UTA’s buses are accessible to those with disabilities, and come with ramps and the ability to kneel.
- Planning Your Trip: You can use the Trip Planner on the UTA website to help you figure out the best way to get from point A to point B, or check out details about the routes, schedules, and departure times.
TRAX is a light rail system with 42.5 miles of track, 50 stations, and three lines: the Blue Line (which runs from Draper to Salt Lake City); the Red Line (which runs from South Jordan to the University of Utah); and the Green Line (which runs from West Valley to the Salt Lake City International Airport).
TRAX is a fun way to get around downtown for free if you enter in the Free Fare Zone between N. Temple and 500 S, and 400 W and 200 E. Otherwise, the cost to ride is the same as the bus, with 20 percent off when you use your FAREPAY card. You can purchase your ticket from one of the machines on the platform, a UTA customer service office, or the GoRide app.
This public transit option runs seven days a week, with 15 minutes between trains during peak times. For passengers with disabilities, ramps deploy at the push of a button.
Riding the FrontRunner
FrontRunner is a commuter rail train that runs the 89 miles between Pleasant View and Provo, with Salt Lake City in between. There are 16 stops along the way, many of which allow riders to connect with TRAX and bus routes. FrontRunner trains are in service from Monday through Saturday, running up to every 30 minutes during peak times.
The cost of a ticket ranges from $2.50 to $19.40, depending on your route. Like the bus and TRAX, FrontRunner fares are good for two hours from purchase. If you need to transfer, you can hop right onto a bus or TRAX line (and deduct the cost from your bus or TRAX ticket). Those with FAREPAY cards can get up to 20 percent off.
Like the bus and TRAX, FrontRunner is accessible to those with disabilities.
The short and sweet two miles of streetcar route connects Sugar House and South Salt Lake City. The S-Line is a great way to hop around the neighborhoods it serves, but also serves as a way to connect to the bus or TRAX lines.
Like TRAX, you’ll purchase your fare at ticket machines on the platforms, or you can use FAREPAY cards or the GoRide app. Tickets cost as much as the local bus and TRAX; use the FAREPAY card for 20 percent off.
Ski buses run from several destinations in Salt Lake City to a number of ski resorts just outside of town. Pick-up points include Midvale Ft. Union Station, 6600 S 950 E Park and Ride, 6200 S Wasatch Park and Ride, Big Cottonwood Canyon Park and Ride, Historic Sandy Station, 9400 S 2000 E Park and Ride, and more. If you have a season pass to Snowbird, Alta, Brighton, Solitude, or Sundance Mountain Resort, you can ride the ski bus for free.
GREENbike is Salt Lake City’s bike share program. You can sign up simply by finding one of the stations, selecting the dock number of the bike you want to use, and following the prompts. You can return the bikes to any of the docking stations around town.
It's $5 for a 24-hour membership and $15 for a week. Rides up to 30 minutes are free with the cost of membership. If you go beyond 30 minutes, you’ll pay $2 for the next 30 minutes and $5 for every 30 minutes after that (up to a daily max of $75). You can check out bikes any time of day, but the program does close down for winter months.
Taxi and Ride-Sharing Apps
If a bike, bus, light rail, or train is not practical, rest assured you won’t have trouble finding a ride in Salt Lake City. Uber, Lyft, Yellow Cab, and other taxi companies all operate in the city, including at Salt Lake City International Airport.
Since UTA is regional, you can get out of the city with public transit. However, if you want the flexibility and freedom to come and go exactly as you please, renting a car is always an option. You’ll find lots of rental companies at the airport. Salt Lake City is an easy city to drive around, as the roads are generally wide by design and not too tough to navigate (though the street addresses do take a little getting used to).
Tips for Getting Around Salt Lake City
- You can purchase a Premium Pass that works for the bus, TRAX, Express Bus, Streetcar, and FrontRunner. Premium Passes are $198 for adults, $148.50 for students and youth, and $99 for seniors and reduced fare.
- Public transit shuts down during the night, but exactly when it does depends on the day and which transit option you’re looking at. Check the schedule of your route carefully if you plan to travel later in the evening.
- While UTA options can take you far and wide, you will be limited in your ability to get out into Utah's canyons and other natural expanses. If this is your priority, consider renting a car at least for that part of your visit.
- There is a Free Fare Zone located downtown between N. Temple and 500 S, and 400 W and 200 E. If you stay downtown close to this area, you can get to many places without having to pay for transit at all.
- If you plan to take the Ski Bus, stay near one of the stations to minimize any complications in getting there. If you need to be at a resort at a specific time, allow yourself plenty of extra time on these buses as they run during the winter and conditions may be snowy.
- FAREPAY cannot be used on Paratransit, and you don’t get discounts if you use your FAREPAY card on the ski bus or PC-SLC Connect.
- If you need to transfer between the bus, TRAX, FrontRunner, or S-Line Streetcar, UTA recommends planning at least 7-10 minutes between transfers to make sure you make your connection.
- Paratransit services are available for those who are unable to independently use the public transit options.