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Students utilize free UTA premium transit pass for recreation

The back of a Westminster College student ID card displays itself in front of Converse Hall on Sept. 10. The ID also serves as the Utah Transport Authority premium transit pass for Westminster faculty and students. Photos courtesy of Brooklyn Covington.

The Westminster College community has access to a free Utah Transport Authority premium transit pass to use on the UTA Bus, TRAX, Express Bus and Frontrunner, according to Westminster’s campus sustainability page. The Westminster ID, given to faculty, staff and current students at the beginning of their first year, serves as the pass.

Current students, faculty, and staff can take advantage of their free UTA pass to visit various places.

Zaura Stokes, a senior educational studies major, uses her UTA pass to ride the bus to City Creek Center and Nostalgia Café in Salt Lake City. Stokes also rides the Frontrunner to visit Station Park in Farmington. 

“[Riding public transportation is] kind of like a little adventure, you don’t know who you’re going to see on your trips,” Stokes said. “It makes for excellent people-watching and you learn more about the city [and] state you live in. It is a great way to sightsee.” 

Jackie McNamara, a junior English major commuter, utilizes their pass for recreation.

 “I use the bus to get to work in Holladay, or sometimes to go to the City Library or other locations downtown for leisure,” McNamara said.

Using UTA can save time without having to park, according to McNamara.

“Taking the bus saves a lot of money,” McNamara said. “You don’t have to pay for gas or parking passes. Also you don’t have to spend time looking for parking wherever you are commuting to.”

Stokes said there are other aspects to using UTA related to student life. 

“The Frontrunner, in particular, makes an excellent place to do homework, watch a movie or take a nap. I personally find it very relaxing and sometimes need those extra moments to myself before I go to school,” Stokes said.

Bus number 13008 rides past the empty bus stop on 1300 E in front of Westminster College Sept. 8. Students can use their UTA premium transit pass to board a bus on Route 220. Photos courtesy of Brooklyn Covington.

However, not all students at Westminster use this mode of transportation. Joseph Alvarez, a senior justice studies major, said they rarely use their UTA pass.

“I have a car and find it more convenient to commute from home to school to work on my own schedule with my own vehicle,” Alvarez said.

Some students said there are problems when using UTA. 

“Many of these stops do not have benches, which makes them inaccessible to many people,” McNamara said. “[…] The run times are also really spaced out, especially on weekends, when I’m going to work.”

McNamara said most of the bus stops on routes can also be spaced apart, so people may end up walking long distances to get to stops. 

Stokes said the Frontrunner also experiences trouble with run times. 

“The Frontrunner is very consistent, but they have massive breaks between when the next train comes,” Stokes said. “If you miss the train you will be waiting 45 minutes to an hour for the next one, so it’s safe to check [the schedule.]”

The UTA pass is a good asset for the Westminster community, according to Alvarez.  

 “I think it’s great that students have at least that option [of the UTA premium transit pass],” Alvarez said. “So that at least some form of transportation for students is accessible.” 

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Brooklyn Covington is a senior at Westminster College studying communication. She has fun in the sun and finds value in embracing her naturally curly hair. Brooklyn has a passion for fashion and loves being a pommy mommy to her pampered dog, Roo.

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