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UTA to debut prepaid, reloadable fare cards

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 8 2013 3:45 p.m. MDT

The Utah Transit Authority announced Tuesday that its prepaid, reloadable fare cards will be available for purchase next week.

Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Transit Authority announced Tuesday that its prepaid, reloadable fare cards will be available for purchase next week.

Starting Wednesday, UTA will give away electronic FAREPAY cards preloaded with $15 at select TRAX and FrontRunner stations. Locations can be found by visiting UTA's Facebook page or following the transit agency on Twitter.

FAREPAY cards can be obtained online or at UTA customer service centers beginning Monday. Retail merchants will also begin rolling out FAREPAY cards next week. The list of participating merchants includes Walgreens, Wal-Mart, 7-Eleven and Associated Food Stores.

For a limited time, riders can pay a promotional fare that will save up to 20 percent on regular and express buses, as well as TRAX and FrontRunner trains. The promotional fare will be $2 on local bus and TRAX service, $4.50 on express buses and a 50-cent station increment on FrontRunner.

UTA spokesman Remi Barron said the fare promotion is designed to encourage cash-paying riders to switch to FAREPAY and quickly become familiar with how the new system works.

"FAREPAY is designed to make riding public transit more convenient by eliminating the need for riders to carry cash, have exact change or wait in line at ticket vending machines," Barron said. "FAREPAY will also enable UTA to gather better ridership data and adjust service accordingly."

FAREPAY can be used on FrontRunner and TRAX trains, fixed-route and flex buses, and on the Sugar House streetcar line when it opens in December, but cannot be used on paratransit services because those vehicles are not equipped with electronic card readers.

The FAREPAY promotion will run through March 14. The discount is valid on all UTA services except ski service, paratransit and the Park City Connect. In addition, senior and disabled riders who qualify for a reduced fare FAREPAY card will also receive a discount of up to 20 percent. Reduced fare riders can contact the UTA customer service center for a FAREPAY card that honors the reduced fare discount.

FAREPAY cards must be activated before they can be used, Barron said. There is a one-time $3 activation fee, and riders can load between $5 to $500 on the cards.

For instructions on registering a card or creating an account, visit farepay.rideuta.com. Registering a FAREPAY card will allow riders to check their balance, schedule automatic reloads, ensure loss and theft protection, Barron said.

Cardholders will be required to tap card readers on buses or train platforms when boarding and exiting. The cost of the ride will automatically be deducted from the value on the FAREPAY card.

Customers are cautioned not to forget to tap off when exiting the system or transferring between lines to avoid a charge for transfers or for the full length of a FrontRunner trip, Barron said.

"There is no need to tap on and off when transferring between TRAX lines," he said. "FAREPAY cards, like other forms of payment, allow for a free two-hour transfer window between modes of transportation."

Email: jlee@deseretnews.com

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