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UTA should keep free-fare zone in downtown Salt Lake City

TRAX travels through downtown Salt Lake City on Friday, Dec. 23, 2011.
TRAX travels through downtown Salt Lake City on Friday, Dec. 23, 2011.
Laura Seitz, Laura Seitz, Deseret News

In regards to UTA's consideration to eliminate the downtown "free-fare" zone, it bothers me that UTA would even consider such a tactic, in view of the fact that almost 65 percent of their total revenue comes from sales tax and downtown once again being a shopping destination.

After using TRAX for the past 10 years, I have been asked to show a valid fare ticket only four times. With UTA showing only 16 percent of its revenue from passenger revenue, my case probably isn't an anomaly. So why doesn't UTA do more to enforce fare collection?

I know enforcement isn't all that easy and that the new tap and board system helps, but perhaps their tickets could be electronically coded also so that if you got on a train without a tap and board pass or electronically coded ticket an alarm would alert an on-board enforcement officer to check it out. This would help collect more revenue as a result.

Keeping the free-fare zone as it currently is promotes our out-of-town guests to explore, visit, shop and attend sporting or special events at the EnergySolutions Arena, Gateway, City Creek, Main Street and the Library, along with all of the other activities and attractions of downtown.

The money they spend generates sales tax revenue that benefits UTA, and so does the money from locals who want to shop downtown.

Douglas L. Webb