If the Salt Lake City Council decides to give up the free-fare zone for UTA buses downtown, it should get something in return. That something should be direct TRAX service from downtown to the university and greater frequency on city bus routes.
The Achilles heel of the Utah Transit Authority system is the long time between buses. That is compounded when TRAX and bus schedules do not synchronize. Nothing is more frustrating for a passenger than to arrive on a train and see his connecting bus driving away from the stop. If the wait for the next bus is 30 minutes, that's a big chunk of time out of a commuter's life. If the next bus is not scheduled for two hours, the commuter is unlikely to remain a UTA customer.
One reason that TRAX trains are popular is that the time between trains is 15 minutes on weekdays. If you miss a train, that can be annoying, but you know another is coming soon. Not so with buses.