Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What Mountain Line improvements will be implemented in January 2015?

A: The four basic improvements that will be implemented on January 5, 2015, include: Late Evening Service Bus service is extended until 10p.m. on routes 1, 2, 6, and 7, the four most popular bus routes in the system. Smaller buses will operate late evening service on an hourly frequency. More Bus Frequency Route 2 will operate on a 15-minute all day frequency (BOLT! service) and will be interlined with the Route 1, meaning residents won’t need to transfer to another bus to reach destinations along Route 1. Moreover, Route 6 will operate between the Downtown Transfer Center, Southgate Mall, and Community Medical Center on a 30-minute all day frequency. Improvements in Door-To-Door Service 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 into the day to accommodate an increasing number of senior and disabled residents in the community that cannot access the fixed route system. Zero-Fare Service Thanks to 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. For more information clock on the Zero-fare icon.

Q: I’ve heard about zero-fare for Mountain Line. What is it and what are the benefits?

A: Zero-fare is defined as a free public transit service that does not require passengers to pay when using the system. Of course, someone or some entity is paying for public transit that is zero-fare to boarding passengers. These funds can come from a variety of sources, including local, state or federal funds, or partnerships that might include the university, parking commission and others. These funds take the place of the revenue a public transit system would otherwise collect from passengers.There are lots of benefits to a zero-fare transit system. Many can be found on Mountain Line’s blog, boltmissoula.com. The biggest benefit is a significant ridership increase. Communities that have switched to zero-fare have seen ridership increases of between 20 percent and 60 percent. The most recent community to go zero-fare is Corvallis, Oregon, in 2011, which saw a 43 percent increase in ridership within two months with no increase in service hours.In Missoula a community partnership has formed to fund a zero-fare demonstration project for 3-years, beginning in January of 2015. The goal of the zero-fare project is to increase ridership 45 percent.

Q: Missoula voters approved a mill levy increase for Mountain Line on the November 2013 ballot. What has occurred since then?

A: The No. 1 focus after the mill levy was passed was the purchase of the three buses needed to run additional BOLT! service. It takes 12 months to manufacture and deliver the buses, so it was a tight deadline to get the buses ordered. After evaluating nearly 100 options for the buses, they’re ordered and are scheduled to arrive in Missoula in December.Additionally, we’ve ordered a few small buses for the late evening service. These buses will complement the current fleet of small buses, which will be upgraded so that they are easy to use for the late evening service.Finally, during the next few months we will be getting the system map and bus schedules ready to go for the January 2015 start date of the improvements. We’ll also be hiring and training 7 new drivers.

Q: Are there any service reductions planned in January?

A: There are no service reductions planned.

Q: Will the new buses for additional BOLT! services have WiFi and BusTracker technologies? Bike racks?

A: Yes, the three new buses for the additional BOLT! service that will start in January 2015 will function exactly like the buses we have in our current fleet. They will have the latest routers and modems for 4G WiFi by Community Medical Center, BusTracker technology so you can see their location real time on your computer, and 3-slot bike racks. For an even better riding experience, we’ve upgraded the seating and have even ordered a sound system with the buses.

Q: Are the small buses for late evening service easy to ride? Will they have WiFi and BusTracker technologies? Bike racks?

A: The two small buses we recently ordered are incredible. They are built on a van chassis and are low-floor, which means they don’t have a stairwell and, just like the modern fixed route buses, they are easy to use. For residents using mobility devices, the process is as easy as driving onto the nearly flat ramp and into the vehicle. The smaller buses will have open areas in the front for securing mobility devices and 12 seats arranged in a perimeter fashion so riders can have fun talking and interacting with friends. And yes, they will have digital signs, a sound system that automatically announces the next stop, pull-chords to notify the operator that you need to get off the bus at the next stop, free WiFi by Community Medical Center with 4G internet speed so that you can catch up on your latest e-mail and social media sites, BusTracker technology so you can stay in touch with your bus in real time, and 3-slot bike carriers. vanThe small buses we currently have in the fleet will also operate on the late evening routes. Although they look similar, and will be equipped with all the amenities of the two new buses, they unfortunately are not low-floor and so will have a stairwell and a separate door for the lift that is needed to board mobility devices. Current plans are to replace these buses over the next five years with low-floor buses.

Q: What popular destinations are open along Routes 1, 2, 6, and 7 during the late evening?

A: There are many great destinations open in the evening along routes 1, 2, 6, and 7. Here’s a sample:
Route 1 Downtown Area Businesses Missoula Children’s Theatre Library University of Montana Fairgrounds w/Ice Skating Rink Book Exchange and Ace Hardware Staples and Hastings City Life Community Center Dollar Store Southgate Mall
Route 2 Downtown Area Businesses St Patrick Hospital Westside Lanes Bowling Alley PetSmart Michaels Barnes & Noble Best Buy Carmike 12 Target Southgate Mall
Route 6 Downtown Area Businesses Hip Strip Shops/Crystal Theater Senior Center Roxy Theater Hellgate and Sentinel HS events Splash Montana (summer) Clawson Little League Complex YMCA Fairgrounds w/Ice Skating Rink Southgate Mall
Route 7 Downtown Area Businesses McCormick Park Jo-Ann’s Craft Store CVS Pharmacy/Walgreens Senior Center Fairgrounds w/Ice Skating Rink Bob Wards/Bed Bath & Beyond Southgate Mall Cabellas/Boot Barn Walmart

Q:When will the new route schedules be available?

A: Mountain Line staff is currently working on the changes to the system map and bus schedule. Look for release date updates on our website at mountainline.com. Although the improvements won’t happen until January 2015, we anticipate releasing new route schedules by late-fall 2014 to give you plenty of time to ask questions and plan your trips.

Q: Will routes 8 and 9 continue to serve Community Medical Center with the current schedule?

A: Yes, there are no changes planned for Routes 8 and 9.

Q: With buses operating later in the evening, if I miss the last bus, what can I do?

A: The best insurance you can obtain for missing the last bus is to be a member of Missoula In Motion’s Way to Go Club. As a member of the Way to Go Club, not only do you get to track your usage of transportation options and earn cool prizes for your efforts, but you can also get a ride home in a taxicab at no cost if you miss the last bus. Check out Missoula In Motion at missoulainmotion.com for the latest benefits of the Way to Go Club.