The Salt Lake City School District (SLCSD), Salt Lake Education Foundation, Salt Lake City Corporation, and UTA are not only renewing the popular Transit Pass for students. They are now teaming up to introduce an exciting addition to this highly successful program.
The new Guardian Pass is designed specifically for parents or guardians of students enrolled in the SLCSD. It is intended to provide an additional layer of support for students’ safe travels to and from school.
One Guardian Pass will be granted to each student household. This new pass will give parents and guardians the same no cost, unlimited access to UTA buses, TRAX, the S-Line, and UTA On Demand that their students enjoy. All passes are being distributed through each school in the Salt Lake City School District and students as well as parents should check with the main office at their respective schools to receive passes.
In an effort to expand access to the UTA system, the Salt Lake City Council recommended, and Mayor Erin Mendenhall approved, additional funding for the Guardian Pass. The decision to extend passes to parents comes on the heels of the encouraging response to the Transit Pass during the 2022-23 school year. The first of its kind partnership provided 25,000 students, faculty members and staff personnel with a UTA transit pass.
Compared to the 2021-22 school year, UTA and the SLCSD experienced a 645% year over year increase in usage. Average monthly ridership went from 400 students the year before to 3,000 a month once the passes were issued. And in May, nearly 4000 unique riders utilized these transit passes. This led to an almost 600% increase in trips taken, with almost 300,000 more trips recorded than the year before.
James Yapias, Senior Director of the Salt Lake Education Foundation, said “We’re very excited. I’ve received great feedback from students, parents and teachers about how this has impacted education in a positive ay.”
The success of the Transit Pass isn’t just measured by statistics. Access to opportunity provides greater context to this story. Schools in the Salt Lake City School District are seeing more participation in after school activities. More students have been able to take internship opportunities and jobs now that they have transportation. Some students now stay after school for tutoring and others are using UTA for doctor appointments. The Transit Pass has even increased class attendance.
According to Yapias, “In the past, if the winter was bad and students had to walk more than a mile to school, they would just skip school on bad weather days. Now they can get dropped off near their schools. Some kids are riding together as a group. They feel very positive about this.”
Parents feel positive about the Transit Pass as well because it addresses the issue of affordability. “The bus, for some, was prohibitively expensive,” said Yapias. “For students coming from a home with a single parent or a home with two working parents making a minimum wage, it was difficult for them to buy bus passes for their kids. Considering the economic situation many are facing, the Transit Pass is a big help for them.”
For more information on the Transit Pass and the new Guardian Pass go to www.rideuta.com/slcschools.