Mountain Line Responds to Blizzard with Free Service, Mass Social Media Blitz, and Emergency Evacuations

MISSOULA, MONTANA (March, 3 2013) — On Friday, February 28th the Missoula Valley experienced one of the most severe weather systems to come through the area in several years.  Due to dangerous conditions residence were encouraged not to drive.

Mountain Line responded by providing fare free service on Friday and Saturday.  In all, 2,989 Missoulians took advantage of free service on Friday and 1,209 on Saturday even with area schools, UM and many local businesses closed.  Many of these riders were trying out the bus for the first time.

“Mountain Line has been dedicated to helping Missoula move for more than 35 years.” said General Manager Michael Tree.  “On days with extreme weather, our roll in the community is even more vital to help make sure people safely reach their destinations.”

In addition to fare free service, Mountain Line worked to keep the public informed of any route detours that occurred due to the snow.  Using Facebook and Twitter, route information and changes were posted in real time resulting in a social media serge.  During the Blizzard, Mountain Line’s reach on Facebook rose over 700% while the number of liked posts went up more than 1,000%.

Also on Friday, Mountain Line assisted in the evacuation of the Mount Jumbo avalanche site.  At approximately 5:00pm, Mountain Line’s headquarters received a 911 call, which asked the agency to respond to the scene with a paratransit bus.  Mountain Line immediately dispatched a bus which arrived within 20 minutes of the call.  In all, Mountain Line evacuated around 15 people taking them to the Baptist Church on Woody and Pine.