The Missoula Urban Transportation District (MUTD) announced today that the agency will operate the Mountain Line bus system Zero-fare beginning January 5, 2015. The announcement comes in response to community partners who have asked the MUTD to participate in a three-year zero-fare demonstration project with a goal of significantly increasing ridership.
Funding and support for the Zero-fare demonstration project will be provided by community partners who include the University of Montana, the Associated Students of the University of Montana, Missoula’s Metropolitan Planning Organization, the City of Missoula, the County of Missoula, Missoula Aging Services, the City Parking Commission, Missoula County Public Schools, St Patrick Hospital, Community Medical Center, the Missoula Downtown Association, Southgate Mall and Homeword, Inc.
Benefits from the private-public partnership include:
- Goal of 45% ridership increase
- Achievement of livability and health objectives
- Reduction in operating expenses
- Faster boarding for improved on-time performance
- Additional rides by current customers
- New riders from other motorized modes of transportation
- Essential services benefiting all residents
- Increased productivity
- Community recognition and pride
According to MUTD General Manager Michael Tree, “There are nearly 40 communities operating Zero-fare transit in the US. Research shows that Zero-fare significantly increases ridership wherever it is tried.”
The MUTD will implement the Zero-fare demonstration project to coincide with voter approved improvements set for implementation on January 5, 2015, which include 15 minute all-day BOLT! service for Route 2, late evening service to 10pm on the four most popular Mountain Line routes, and improvements to service for seniors and people with disabilities.
“Mountain Line helps employees get to work, students get to class, and helps seniors and people with disabilities remain active,” says Eric Hines, MUTD Board Chairman. “Zero-fare is an opportunity for Mountain Line to further improve the quality of life in Missoula, which will truly benefit us all.”
For more information on coming improvements to Mountain Line service and Zero-fare, please click here