SmartTrips SLC poises to increase UTA usage

N-Pollution Colby Patterson
Sara Tannenbaum, coordinator of Smart Trips Salt Lake City, speaks in the collegiate room in the Union on Tuesday afternoon. Photo by Dane Goodwin.

Sara Tannenbaum, coordinator of Smart Trips Salt Lake City, speaks in the collegiate room in the Union on Tuesday afternoon. Photo by Dane Goodwin.

For Sara Tannenbaum, coordinator of SmartTrips SLC, realizing an increase in public transportation to the U is a matter of changing attitudes.

“Students have some of the greatest support in getting to school,” she said.

Tannenbaum spoke on campus as a part of ASUU’s #Healthy4Dayz campaign on Tuesday, with three students in attendance. She said students are privileged to have easy access to routes to the U and a free UTA pass, which for an adult outside of the U costs $83.75 per month.

She is happy more students are using online resources such as Google Maps and the UTA Trip Planner to make using public transportation easier.
SmartTrips offers personal assistance in trip planning.

Funded through a UCare grant, SmartTrips provides community support and education for public transit use. Tannenbaum said there are stigmas associated with using the bus or TRAX, and she hopes further education will mitigate harmful assumptions.

“To me, embracing alternative forms of transportation is more than just improving air quality: it’s about improving your quality of life,” Tannenbaum said.

She believes too many people become attached to one mode of transportation and said spending time outside of the car to walk, bike or ride public transportation will make people happier, giving them a chance to slow down.

Tannenbaum addressed the concern that using public transportation takes too much time. She said students can study, read or reflect while riding the bus or train. She hopes to see more students taking the time to walk and bike through their communities to absorb the local atmosphere.

The majority of U students live off campus and commute, making it important for them to be aware of their contribution to air pollution, Tannenbaum said.

“I think it’s a great idea for students to be more involved in public transit,” said Chris Rondem, a senior in economics and philosophy.

Rondem said the cost of owning a car is a major reason for students to consider other transportation options. As a member of the Student Services Board, Rondem arranged for Tannenbaum to speak and is a student advocate for SmartTrips.

Tannenbaum is confident that continued efforts through programs like SmartTrips will engage communities to join in environmental awareness.

k.tao@chronicle.utah.edu