Clear the Air Challenge unveils 1,500 more free passes for transit in July

Published: Thursday, June 20 2013 6:32 a.m. MDT

Passengers ride the Salt Lake Airport TRAX line, Sunday, April 14, 2013.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Transit Authority recently had 2,500 free transit passes for a seven-day period in July snapped up in just two days.

Another 1,500 are available, announced Wednesday during the fifth annual Clear the Air Challenge kickoff event. The passes, which are good on all UTA buses and trains, are available at UtaRideClear.com.

This year's challenge is aimed at reducing summertime smog by enlisting 11,000 participants who will pledge to eliminate 300,000 vehicle trips and 2 million vehicle miles traveled.

Marty Carpenter, with the Salt Lake Chamber, said last year's challenge resulted in nearly 1.6 million miles reduced in travel and 134,000 vehicle trips eliminated.

Last year, 6,600 individuals participating by themselves or in teams went to www.cleartheairchallenge.org to make the pledge to help reduce pollutants during Utah's most notorious month for high levels of ozone.

Jonathan Johnson, chairman of the Clean Air Task Force at the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce and executive vice chairman of Overstock.com, said residents can help reduce ozone by riding transit, trip-chaining, carpooling or bicycling.

"The challenge has been a big success so far, but we need to strengthen our efforts," Johnson said. "Each year, I personally challenge my colleagues at Overstock.com to ride their bikes to work during the challenge, agreeing to match any colleague’s longest commute. We also arrange at least one day when we bike to work together. … The internal competition is fierce."

Since its inception five years ago, the Clear the Air Challenge has resulted in nearly 5.3 million miles saved, reduced emissions by 7.5 million pounds and conserved 72,208 gallons of gas, according to the Chamber.

Email: amyjoi@deseretnews.com, Twitter: amyjoi16

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