In 2012, the Missoula residents participated in an extensive planning process to define the future of Mountain Line bus services through 2040. The process indicated a strong community desire for late evening service, more frequency of buses on the fixed routes, and an increased level of door-to-door service for seniors and people with disabilities.
Shortly thereafter, in November of 2013, Missoulians approved a 14.5 mill levy increase for the following improvements that are scheduled for implementation on January 5, 2015:
Late Evening Service
Mountain Line will operate until almost 10 p.m. on weekdays on routes 1, 2, 6, and 7, the four most popular bus routes. Smaller buses will operate the late evening service from 7 p.m. to 9:50 p. m. on an hourly frequency.
More BOLT! Service
In August 2012, Mountain Line introduced its first BOLT! service route, a 15-minute all day service on Route 1, which connects the downtown with the University of Montana and mid-town’s Southgate Mall.
On January 5, 2015, Route 2 will go to all-day BOLT! service. Route 2 serves St. Patrick Hospital on Spruce, Target and other popular shopping destinations in the north Reserve area, residential areas on Russell and Johnson Street, and mid-town’s fashionable Southgate Mall. Route 2 will be interlined with Route 1, meaning residents who board the bus anywhere along Route 2 won’t need to transfer to another bus to reach destinations along Route 1.
The BOLT! service on Routes 1 and 2 will begin at 7 a.m. and continue until 5:45 p.m. At 5:45 p.m. Routes 1 and 2 will operate on 45-minute frequency until 7p.m. when they will begin hourly late-evening service.
Improvements for Route 6
On January 5, 2015, Mountain Line will introduce 30-minute all-day service on Route 6. This popular bus route will leave the downtown transfer center and travel on Higgins Avenue past Hellgate High School, then to Bancroft Street past Sentinel High School and Splash Montana before arriving at the YMCA on Russell Street, then moving on to mid-town’s Southgate Mall. Finally, it travels from Southgate Mall to Community Medical Center, offering residents a one-seat ride from the downtown area to the hospital.
Improvements for Senior and Disabled Residents
Beginning on January 5, 2015, door-to-door service for seniors and disabled residents will be extended until 10p.m. Additionally, more service is being added to accommodate an increasing number of senior and disabled residents in the community who cannot access the fixed route system.
Mountain Line to Operate Zero-fare
Thanks to the generous support of community partners Mountain Line will operate Zero-fare beginning January 5, 2015. During the three year demonstration project all Mountain Line services will operate Zero-fare, including door-to-door service for seniors and residents with disabilities. The goal of community partners is to increase ridership at Mountain Line 45%. For more information click on the Zero-fare icon.