Where do I tap my card?

Electronic readers are located at all doors on all UTA buses and near the entrances to all TRAX and FrontRunner platforms. Just tap your card to the contactless logo (shown below) as you board and when exiting a bus or train platform.

How does the EFC system work?

It’s easy. Just tap a UTA contactless transit pass or a contactless credit/debit card to the contactless logo on a reader. The system automatically recognizes the type of card and responds accordingly. The following are possible reader responses:

  • Valid: a green light and acceptance message on the reader means your card has been accepted as a valid form of fare payment. Welcome aboard!
  • Additional action required: a yellow light means that more action is required. For example, if you are using a regular Eco or Student Pass you may need to pay an upgrade for a premium service. Check the reader display for more information.
  • Not valid: a red light means your card is invalid or has been disabled. Check the reader display for more information. If your card is invalid, you must pay your fare using another payment method such as cash. If your card has been disabled, contact the card issuer to resolve the issue.

What fare is charged?

When paying with a contactless credit/debit card, you will be charged the single adult cash fare for the service.

What type of contactless smart cards can be used?

There are three types of contactless smart cards that may be accepted:

  • Bank-issued contactless credit/debit cards
  • Certain ID cards issued by organizations such as schools, employers, and ski resorts
  • UTA contactless transit passes

The EFC reader response will tell you if your card is accepted as a valid form of fare payment.

In addition to contactless smart cards, mobile phones running mobile wallet apps (such as Apple Pay and Android Pay) may be accepted for payment at the electronic card readers too.

Does "contactless" card mean any card with a chip?

No. Not all chipped cards are the same. Only chipped cards that can communicate with terminals via radio waves are contactless cards. Often these cards will display a contactless payment symbol on the card (shown below).

Other names for contactless cards are NFC (Near Field Communication) and RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification) cards. NFC cards are equipped with RFID computer chip technology that allow customers to “tap to pay” by hovering the card over the card reader at close range. No contact is required.

Contactless cards are NOT necessarily the same as EMV (Europay, MasterCard, Visa) chipped cards.

EVM cards have a computer chip inside too (shown above), but these cards are inserted or “dipped” into a card reader and customers must provide a signature or enter a PIN to complete the purchase.

It is possible but rare for a card to be both contactless and EMV capable. Just remember that EMV cards may be accepted at the ticket vending machines, and contactless cards may be accepted at the electronic card readers.

What do I do if I get a red light (or no response) when tapping my card to a reader?

  • If your card gets a red light at the reader, you must pay your fare using another payment method such as cash. If you feel your card is getting a red light in error, please contact the card issuer to resolve the issue.
  • If your card gets no response at all from the reader, try removing the card from your wallet or purse and try again. It may be experiencing card “collision” which occurs when one or more electronic cards are next to each other causing a faulty read. If when tapping your card, the reader still gives no response, please try another reader if possible. If there isn’t any response from an alternate reader, it may be that the microchip or antenna inside the card is damaged. Another possibility is that your card is not a contactless smartcard. In other words, it may not have an embedded chip or antenna. Please contact the card issuer for assistance.
  • For contactless credit/debit cards, after you have contacted the issuing institution to resolve the issue, call UTA Customer Service at 801-2872667 to re-authorize your card on UTA’s system.
  • IMPORTANT – Please note that if you get a red light (or no response) when tapping your card at a reader, you must pay your fare using another payment method such as paying with cash, or purchasing a ticket at a TVM. This is true even if you feel that your card is getting rejected in error. In all cases, when paying with any type of contactless card, you must get a green light to board (or yellow light with proof of upgrade payment).

How are fares enforced?

  • Bus: As you board, the operator will receive a validation message from the reader just as you do and allow you to board. The operator will allow you to board if your card gets a green light. The operator will ask for additional payment if your card gets a yellow light. If your card gets a red light (or no response), the operator will ask you to please provide an alternate form of fare payment.
  • TRAX and FrontRunner: UTA transit officers carry a small electronic inspection device. Inspectors will ask patrons to show proof of fare (e.g. “tickets please”). When you are asked to show proof of fare, simply produce the contactless transit pass or contactless credit/debit card that you used to pay. The officer will electronically inspect your card to determine whether the card was recently tapped or not. If there is no electronic record of the card being tapped, then the officer will likely issue a citation for failure to provide proof of payment.

Does UTA track my movements when I tap on and off?

  • UTA does not track the movement of specific individuals within its transit system.
  • Trip data is used primarily to analyze and understand mass transit patterns in order to improve overall service and better plan for the future. 
  • Internal and external EFC trip reporting is done at aggregate levels so that UTA and its partners are unable to view or track the trip patterns of specific individuals.

How do transfers work?

  • When paying with a contactless pass or credit/debit card, there is no need to ask for a transfer. Once you tap off, the system will automatically apply transfer credits for all transfers you make within a 2 hour window.
  • When transferring from one service type to another, you will be charged only for the most expensive service used. Example: A woman begins her journey on a Regular bus in Salt Lake City and pays for the trip using a contactless credit card. The card is charged a single Regular bus adult fare. She taps off the Regular bus and transfers to a higher priced Express bus heading to Ogden using the same credit card. The system automatically applies a transfer credit and charges the card for the difference between an Express and Regular bus fare. The total fare for this journey is the same as the higher Express bus fare.

What about the Free Fare Zone?

A card tapped on and off within the downtown Salt Lake City free fare zone will not be charged.

How does FrontRunner charge a fare?

Tapping on and off is especially important for FrontRunner, which charges you based on the distance you travel.

Do I have to tap on and off?

  • Yes. Be sure to tap on when boarding and tap off when exiting to complete your trip. It is important to remember to tap off with the same card when exiting in order to close out the trip, as failure to tap off would leave the trip incomplete. The only exception to the tap off requirement is when you transfer from a TRAX vehicle to another TRAX vehicle. Other than TRAX-to-TRAX transfers, you are always required to tap off when exiting.
  • Failure to tap off voids any transfer credits that you would normally receive.
  • If you tap on within the free fare zone and fail to tap off when exiting within the free fare zone, you will be charged the full single adult cash fare.
  • If you fail to tap off on FrontRunner, you will be charged the maximum fare, instead for only the distance that you have traveled.

Do Paratransit vehicles have the electronic fare readers and accept contactless credit/debit cards?

  • The EFC system has not been installed on any Paratransit vehicles or services at this time. Contactless credit/debit cards are not accepted on board. Another form of payment is required.

Why did I get a credit card charge when tapping on UTA's card readers?

  • Your credit card was accepted as fare payment. This can happen if you keep a contactless credit or debit card close to your UTA card in your wallet or purse. We suggest removing your UTA card from your wallet or purse and tapping only that card to avoid unwanted charges.

How are my fares calculated?

  • Your tap records allow UTA to construct trips for fare calculation.

What is a trip?

Trip: Also known as an Unlinked Trip, Boarding, Segment, or Leg.  You are required to Tap On when boarding a service, and also Tap Off when alighting a service.  The tap on and tap off usage data records are paired in the EFC system to form a single trip.  The fare calculation and transfer credit business logic is then applied to trips.

Linked Trip: Also referred to as a Journey. A linked trip is one or more trips taken by a single patron within a defined transfer period (e.g. 2 hours). A base fare is calculated for each trip segment, and transfer credits are applied according to UTA's business rules.