University of Utah, UTA reach ten-year deal on student passes

A deal between the University of Utah and the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) will provide students with free transit passes for ten years, pending trustee approval, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

According to the Tribune, trustees will consider the proposed plan next Tuesday at their regular meeting. As it stands now, the deal to provide students with free passes is negotiated annually between UTA and the university. With a ten year deal in place, the university can count on paying a flat rate with a preset schedule of increases over the next decade. A clause will allow officials to modify the agreement in the future, with cause.

Gerry Carpenter, a UTA spokesperson, says that a fixed rate for the next decade will allow University of Utah officials to budget more effectively. In a phone interview with BUSRide, he described the deal as a win-win situation for both parties.

“The university has had to invest less in infrastructure,” Carpenter told BUSRide. “Rather than building more parking structures, they’ve been able to build more classrooms and research facilities. As a transit agency, we’ve benefitted from increased ridership and a better return on our investment.”

The University of Utah paid UTA on set annual contracts for sixteen years prior to this deal, with the transit agency allowing the university to distribute free transit passes to students.