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Utahns pursue other forms of transportation as gas prices surge

Posted at 9:36 PM, Mar 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-11 00:39:01-05

SALT LAKE CITY — With gas prices hitting state record-highs, Utahns are considering other ways to save miles and save money.

“It’s a great time for people to sit down and say, ‘OK, what can I do? What are the alternatives? Where can I save money?’” said Carl Arky, spokesperson with Utah Transit Authority.

Riders of UTA’s FrontRunner said they’ve noticed more passengers abroad the train this week. They think this could be the start of people ditching gas and choosing public transit.

“It’s cheaper than driving in,” said Doug Layne, a FrontRunner passenger. “They’re finding out that spending outrageous gas prices, it’s cheaper spending only seven dollars a day or so going back-and-forth.”

Arky said it’s too soon to determine if this week’s passenger numbers are related to the recent spike in fuel.

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The rise in prices also impacts UTA and how it operates all its modes of transportation, but one-way ticket prices remain at $2.50 for now. Arky said that cost should encourage commuters to give it a try.

“It’ll make a difference in people’s personal finances. Their own pocketbooks. It’ll also make a difference in the air that we breathe,” he said.

Other drivers are considering purchasing electric cars or electric bikes (e-bikes). At Salt Lake E-Bikes, the shop says they’ve noticed an uptick in e-bike interest over the last few days.

“A lot of people, especially our folks down in Salt Lake City,” said Camryn Anderson. “A lot of them are wanting to start commuting.”

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Salt Lake E-Bikes is located on S 700 East just right across the street from Liberty Park.

Anderson said the price for an e-bike ranges from $2,000 to $5,000 dollars.

“They are designed to be commuters. They’re designed to withhold the rain, snow, whatever it may be,” the bike mechanic explained. “Excessive hot temperatures or cold.”

If prices at the pump continue to rise, she expects more people will make the switch.

“On an average charge with an average bike here, you can go about seventy miles. On one charge. And that’s a big reason a lot of people are wanting over to commute,” she said. “You feel the breeze. The sun’s on you. It’s a fun time.”