In 2003 UTA eliminated day passes except for the "roundtrip" tickets purchased at TRAX stations. This put the use of day passes out of reach for most UTA customers especially those who live in counties outside of Salt Lake County. The excuse for doing this was that too many people where abusing the system by not marking off the dates when they rode TRAX. So in other words, because a minority of the people where abusing the system and because TRAX was not adequately enforcing, all had to suffer.
This move is opposite of what most transit agencies are currently doing. Most transit agencies are actually eliminating transfers and using day passes instead. While I am not for eliminating transfers day passes are an important ingredient to getting casual riders on transit.
I am a perfect example of the rider that UTA is losing. I cannot take the bus every day due to the lack of good bus service between where I work and live. When I work to six o'clock the last bus leaves at 5:45PM but there is night ride but it doesn't start till 7:45pm then I have to walk a half mile to get to it, ride the bus about a mile and walk another mile home. Just doesn't pay.
But there is many times I can use the bus, especially on days I am not working. But there is not day passes so I would have to pay full fare and get a transfer that is only good for 2 hours which means I would have to pay three or four times.
However even when UTA offered day passes you could not purchase them on the bus. To get one you either had to go to a place such as Dan's that sold them or once again go to a TRAX station. I would buy a few day passes at a time and have them ready for when I needed them. This makes it difficult for the customer. A better system is the one where there is a section on the regular transfers that bus drivers issue that you can punch it and it becomes a day pass. Yes this system can be abused to but then UTA has an issue with the driver not the system. I like Portland because it uses this system and made it much more convenient to use the bus.
UTA needs to get more people on the transit system. The best way to do that is get make sure the system is as easy to use as possible. The day pass makes using the system easier.