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Take public transportation; Utahns appear to not alter travel habits on bad air days

Take public transportation; Utahns appear to not alter travel habits on bad air days (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) – Ask any Utahn who watches the morning news and they’ll recognize the familiar words “red air day.”

That is when air quality dips to its lowest levels, most often during Utah’s winter inversions.

Along with the warning of air pollution, comes the familiar cry to take public transportation.

But Utah may not be listening.

“Everybody is always talking about ‘well, what can we do to clean up the air? What can we do to address the inversion that comes around this time of year, this is one thing that people can do,” Utah Transit Authority spokesperson Carl Arky told 2News.

According to UTA data obtained by 2News, UTA ridership generally sees a less than one percent rise on red air days. If daily ridership increased 1 percent, that would mean approximately 200 trips, according to UTA data.

“If people have not used the system before they don’t seem to be inclined to leave their car in the garage and take mass transportation. They’re not accustomed to it…yet.” Arky said.

Utah’s air quality is forecasted to take a dive in the coming days and weeks and state air officials and UTA hope to see a change in Utah’s travel habits.

“Instead of just saying, well what can we do? This is something you can do, use mass transportation,” Arky said.

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