How To Ride The UTA Ski Bus - A Comprehensive Guide

How To Ride The UTA Ski Bus - A Comprehensive Guide

Local Lexi

By Local Lexi \ November 5 2019

 Updated: November 2019

Use this guide to learn how to utilize the Utah Transit Authority’s Ski Bus system or download the R.I.D.E. app to begin coordinating carpools and earning cool prizes.

With the Cottonwood Canyon resorts adopting the R.I.D.E. app for coordinating carpools and the expansion of UTA's Ski Bus service to many of Utah’s major resorts for the 2019-20 season, it'll be far easier to catch a ride this winter. By hopping aboard the bus or committing to carpool, you can be a critical player in helping to reduce emissions, traffic, and parking struggles. There is plenty of opportunity to cut down on the number of single-driver vehicles traveling to our beloved resorts. I would bet we can all commit to devoting effort this season to keep the air a little clearer and purge cars from the pavement. Be it carpooling or bussing, we can all do more to Protect Our Winters!

 

2019-20 UTA SKI BUS SERVICE & CARPOOLING UPDATES 


The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) and several local non-profit organizations, ski resorts, and the Central Wasatch Commission have recently come together to achieve an increase in bus service and efficiency improvements for the 2019-20 season for travelers to Alta Ski Area, Snowbird, Brighton, Solitude Mountain Resort and Sundance Mountain Resort. Additional buses will increase service, congested stops have been eliminated, and ski racks on select routes have been removed to accommodate more riders.

One of the most exciting developments is the expansion of the R.I.D.E. mobile phone carpooling app to all Cottonwood Canyon resorts in addition to Snowbird. Now it will be possible to find carpoolers, coordinate rides, and earn great perks and rewards for carpooling or riding the Ski Bus.

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HOW TO RIDE THE UTA SKI BUS

Scroll through here to find the section you need.
For route information, see below.


HOW TO PAY -  LEARN THE ROPES

Paying for the bus doesn’t have to be a headache. Season pass holders have it fairly easy, as a free UTA Ski Bus pass is included with many types of resort season passes. You can also pay in cash or use a credit card or you can purchase a hassle-free FAREPAY card to prepay for rides. Tech savvy folks may prefer to use UTA’s free phone app to tap on and off and streamline the whole process. Choose the method that works best for you!


HOW TO PAY - SEASON PASS PERKS

To incentivize responsible travel, a handful of Utah resorts actually incorporate UTA Ski Bus passes directly into their season pass pricing and the pass itself. This completely removes any hassle or excuse not to take advantage of public transit. The following season pass types include FREE use of the UTA Ski Bus and you'll simply scan your season pass to tap on and tap off when using the bus.


HOW TO PAY - CASH OR CREDIT

Should you not possess a resort season pass or your pass does not include a Ski Bus benefit, a one-way fare on the Ski Bus costs just $4.50. UTA requests that riders have exact change or a contactless credit card to purchase the fare when boarding the bus. Fares purchased for TRAX, FrontRunner, or other bus routes will also count toward your $4.50 fare on the Ski Bus.


HOW TO PAY - FAREPAY CARD

Purchase a prepaid, reloadable FAREPAY Card to remove the need to carry exact change or purchase tickets beforehand. FAREPAY cards can be loaded with money and tapped on the Ski Bus’s card reader when boarding. Don’t forget to tap off when unloading the bus so the correct fare is charged. Click here to learn more or purchase a FAREPAY Card.

HOW TO PAY - UTA GoRide APP

Skip the entire process of purchasing a ticket or using cash or credit to pay by downloading the UTA GoRide app to your mobile phone. A credit or debit card can be added to pay for purchases and multiple fares can be purchased at once. You can purchase tickets through the app on your phone to store for future use. When you wish to redeem your fare, simply show the QR code in the app to the bus driver. Tickets for the Ski Bus can be purchased at any time and used within the current ski season. For more information or to download the app, click here.
 

HOW TO CATCH A RIDE ON THE UTA SKI BUS


Skip ahead to the section of your choice to learn about routes and updates for each service.
 For complete details and the most up-to-date schedule, please visit the UTA Ski Bus webpage - click here.

Another great tip: the Ski Utah Snow Report app is fully loaded with every ski bus route in the state! Download the app and find your way to powder on the UTA Ski Bus in just four clicks. Otherwise, keep scrollin' for Ski Bus info organized by region.

Arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes early. All bus stops are marked by a blue sign with a Stop ID Number and a list of all the routes that use this location. The Stop ID Number can also be used for the Ride Time system, which can help you find out when the next bus is coming. Just look for the number to the right of the word “LOCATION,” then text the Stop ID number to UTA-UTA (882-882) and hit send. Ride Time will reply with the next three bus stop departure times from that STOP ID Number.




BIG & LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON SKI BUS SERVICE 

BRIGHTON, SOLITUDE, ALTA & SNOWBIRD
2019-2020 UPDATES
  • Route service kicks off fully on December 1, 2019. Partial service will kick off on November 29, 2019. 
  • For 2019-20, the UTA service up Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons will speed up service and add more trips. High traffic stops have been eliminated to increase the efficiency of bus transit.  
  • The TRAX Bingham Junction Station stop on Route 972 and the Little Cottonwood Canyon Park & Ride stop on Route 994 have been eliminated to decrease transit time. (Riders should use the Midvale Fort Union TRAX Station or the 9400 South Park & Ride as alternative stops.)
  • Rider capacity has been increased on Routes 953, 972, and 994 by removing ski racks and expanding seating.Screen Shot 2019-10-31 at 84635 PMpng
There are three UTA Ski Bus routes that service Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons and Alta, Snowbird, Brighton, and Solitude resorts. During peak times in the AM and PM the 994 and 972 Routes will deploy busses in 15-minute intervals. There will be 15 busses in total on the 953 Route. The 994 Route will feature 26 bus laps and much better coverage during the midday hours than in years past. The 972 Route will feature a robust 37 daily laps to keep people moving up and down Big Cottonwood Canyon efficiently. 

   Route 953- Midvale Ft. Union Station to Snowbird/Alta
   Route 972 - Bingham Junction Station to Solitude/Brighton
   Route 994 - Historic Sandy Station to Snowbird/Alta



UTAH COUNTY SKI BUS SERVICE 

SUNDANCE
2019-20 UPDATES
  • Route service in Utah County will kick off on December 21, 2019.
  • Take advantage of the new Orem Palisade Park & Ride Lot, located at approx. 1350 E. and 850 N, in Orem.
  • More bus trips have been added on Saturdays and holidays.
  • Note: When returning from Sundance on the extended Saturday or holiday service routes, the customers riding to Provo Central Station, University Place, or the Harmon's stops should review the schedule and bus header. Do take a moment to confirm with the operator when boarding at Sundance which stops the route will service, since some trips will only stop at the new Orem Palisade Park & Ride lotScreen Shot 2019-10-31 at 93624 PMpng
In Utah County, UTA runs the 880 Route to provide transit to Sundance Resort. On weekdays, there will be three daily routes to Sundance. On weekends and holidays, UTA will run a total of 7 buses from the Orem Palisades Park & Ride lot.


WEBER & DAVIS COUNTY SKI BUS SERVICE
 
SNOWBASIN & POWDER MOUNTAIN
2019-20 UPDATES
  • Bus service in Weber & Davis County will begin on December 14, 2019.
  • A 12:15 PM trip on Route 667 from Snowbasin to Layton has been added on Saturdays and holidays from December 14 - March 29.
  • There are no changes to Routes 674 and 675.Screen Shot 2019-10-31 at 95029 PMpng

Routes 674
and 675 run from Ogden and Layton to Powder Mountain and Snowbasin Resort. These routes will run December 14, 2019. The Ski Bus will link up with many routes via the Ogden Station stop.

Route 674 - Powder Mountain Ski Service
Route 675 - Snowbasin Ski Service

PARK CITY - SALT LAKE CITY CONNECT
SERVICE BETWEEN SALT LAKE CITY & PARK CITY - TO PARK CITY MOUNTAIN RESORT & DEER VALLEY
  • UTA provides daily service from Salt Lake City to the Kimball Junction Transit Center on Routes 901 and 902.
  • Note that the service costs $4.50 and is not included in the purchase of Park City Mountain or Deer Valley season passes. 
  • The UTA Ski Bus Service provides transit to the Kimball Junction Transit Center which is also serviced by the Park City & Summit County Transit System, an entirely fare free bus system that provides routes to PCMR and Deer Valley Resort
  • Note that the new Woodward Park City facility will be serviced by the Park City/Summit County Bus on the Pink Line.
Screen Shot 2019-10-31 at 100610 PMpng
Routes 901 and 902 run from downtown Salt Lake City to the University of Utah and from midtown to the Kimball Junction Transit Center. Once there, you can transfer to the Park City Transit service, a FREE transit system fueled by biodiesel which services Kimball Junction, the Utah Olympic Park, Park City Mountain Resort, Park City's Historic Main Street, North of Main, and Deer Valley. Click here to access schedules and information for the Park City Transit system.
Route 901 - This route runs east and west on 3900 South to the Meadowbrook TRAX Station. There are two daily routes during weekdays and service is expanded on the weekends. 

Route 902 
- This route begins in downtown Salt Lake City, winding through the University of Utah campus, before heading on up to the Kimball Junction Transit Center. 


HOW TO RIDE THE UTA SKI BUS - TIPS AND TRICKS

  • Many UTA Ski Bus stops have covered shelters. Some are even heated such as Snowbird's Cliff Lodge stop or the Alta's Goldminer's Daughter stop.
  • Ski Bus routes can be integrated with FrontRunner and TRAX or other UTA bus routes. Check the UTA website and utilize their Trip Planner to plot your day. 
  • Ski Bus timetables shift every season. Always double check route information on the UTA website, the GoRide app, the R.I.D.E. app, or the Ski Utah App to ensure your timetable is correct and that you have an updated schedule for the current season.
  • If you are paying cash, bring exact change or purchase a UTA FAREPAY card. Bus drivers do not provide change, which means your ride could be more expensive if you only have bills.
  • To ensure you're boarding the right bus, check the number displayed above front windshield. 
  • If you need to transfer to another bus or a TRAX line, get a transfer slip from the driver. This is your only proof of fare when transferring. Transfer slips are valid for two hours after your initial ride. If using a FAREPAY card, your transfer will display in the app.
  • As you exit, remember to tap off, if you used your season pass, paid with FAREPAY, or another electronic form of payment. Tap the card reader you used when boarding.
 
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HOW TO CARPOOL WITH THE R.I.D.E. APP

With an eye to the future and combatting canyon traffic, Snowbird released a carpool incentive program in 2016 to help employees and guests coordinate carpooling efforts while incentivizing participation with cool and meaningful prizes. In February of 2019, the program evolved into the R.I.D.E. mobile phone application to make participation a cinch with tools to coordinate carpooling and bus rides. If you'd like to learn more about the R.I.D.E. app - just click here

In an exciting development for the 2019-20 season, the R.I.D.E. mobile app will be expanded to help guests of Alta, Brighton, and Solitude also coordinate carpools or access the UTA Ski Bus schedule. The R.I.D.E. app can help resort guests dramatically reduce the number of cars traveling up Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons. Once downloaded to your phone, the application will prompt you to select a time and Park & Ride location and you can then opt to carpool with just your phone contacts or expand the pool to anyone using the R.I.D.E. app. With over 7,100 downloads already completed, there's bound to be plenty of like-minded folks ready to share a ride up the canyon. For more information on the R.I.D.E app across the cottonwoods, click here.

Hilary Arens, Snowbird's Director of Sustainability & Water Resources, explains why the R.I.D.E. mobile app offers a novel approach to solving transportation issues, "R.I.D.E. provides people with immediate ways to choose more sustainable transit options now, instead of having to wait until larger-scale, long-term transportation improvement projects are initiated and completed. The data we collect can also help inform long-term improvements or future projects working towards various transportation solutions.”

The R.I.D.E. app will track carpools with three or more riders, allowing the app's users to earn points to be redeemed for prizes and giveaways. Rides on the UTA Ski Bus can also be tracked on the R.I.D.E. app to earn points and rewards. For more information and FAQs - click here.

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Photo @ Lexi Dowdall

While prizing and incentives are still being established by Alta, Brighton, and Solitude, Snowbird is excited to introduce a new perk for the 2019-20 season. Every R.I.D.E. participant who participates in 10 carpooling trips or bus rides will be entered in a monthly drawing to win one of 10 spaces on a pre-public, early morning Tram ride. This amazing perk is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and truly a special experience! Stay tuned for upcoming announcements regarding the R.I.D.E. app and the expansion of the program to Alta, Brighton, and Solitude.
To download R.I.D.E. for Apple or Android phones, click here

FUN FACT
By eliminating a trip from the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon to Snowbird, based on average MPG for a mid-sized SUV, you can prevent the usage of about 1 gallon of gas. Tally that gallon up each time you travel to a resort this season, and think of the gas money you can save!



ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING

Participating in ridesharing initiatives and making the commitment to change your habits will cascade into many positive outcomes.

- Reduced degradation to water quality and the watershed
- Reduced traffic
- Reduced parking congestion 
- Reduced carbon emissions 
- Making new friends and ski/ride buddies

With that, of course it is helpful to use an electric car, if possible, when forming carpools. To support these lower emission vehicles, Brighton, Snowbird, and Alta all offer electric vehicle charging stations! Take advantage of this free perk if you or a carpooling buddy has an electric vehicle. 


Now quit reading and go experience the joys of ridesharing for yourself!
If you still have questions, visit rideuta.com or call UTA Customer Service at (801) RIDE-UTA (743-3882).
 
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