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UTA says ridership increased by 1 million in 2014

A FrontRunner train ticket is purchased in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014.
A FrontRunner train ticket is purchased in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014.
Laura Seitz, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Transit Authority reported Wednesday that ridership rose by 1 million passengers last year, up just over 2 percent from the previous year.

The data were released at the agency's monthly working meeting of the Finance and Operations Committee. The increase represented a 2.17 percent uptick in ridership from 2013 from 44.1 million to 45.1 million this past year.

The agency launched four light rail extensions during a 12-month period in 2013. Beginning in January 2009, UTA began construction on an ambitious $2 billion expansion plan to lengthen the reach of commuters from Ogden to Provo and light rail to western locales in the Salt Lake Valley.

In April 2013, the airport extension was completed as one of several rail projects UTA had on its construction agenda over the past few years. The others included the $535 million Mid-Jordan Red Line TRAX extension and the $370 million West Valley TRAX line that is also part of the Green Line to Salt Lake City International Airport. Both lines began operation in August 2011.

In addition, the $850 million FrontRunner south commuter-rail line began taking passengers between downtown Salt Lake City and Provo in December 2012.

Then in August 2013, the $212 million Draper TRAX extension on the Blue Line that had formerly terminated in Sandy was launched, followed by the $37 million, 2-mile Sugar House streetcar S-Line that began service in December 2013.

The 140-mile rail system has been built in about 12 years. The 45-mile commuter-rail line between Provo and Salt Lake City opened in December 2012, extending commuter rail a total of about 80 miles north to Ogden.

Currently, the regional rail transit system spans 87 miles along the Wasatch Front.

Despite the expansion of commuter and light rail, buses remain among the most-used form of public transit in Utah, with 19.4 million riders in 2013. Between trains and buses, riders took 44.1 million trips on UTA transit lines during 2013 — up 3 percent from 2012.

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