MISSOULA, Mont.—Due to an ongoing staffing shortage, Mountain Line began a temporary service modification on Monday, April 3, affecting bus frequency on Routes 8 and 12.
Instead of running at half-hour intervals during peak demand hours in the mornings and late afternoons, both routes will run hourly, allowing 10 employee hours per day to be reallocated and relieving the strain on the current workforce.
Additional service modifications affecting Routes 1 and 2 are scheduled to begin on April 16. Instead of a 15-minute service frequency, Routes 1 and 2 will run at 20-minute intervals, meaning some riders may face slight delays when waiting for connecting routes.
These reductions are expected to last for at least three months and possibly through the summer. No other route or service changes are planned, and Shuttle Van and Paratransit service will continue normally.
Mountain Line has been actively recruiting new bus operators, with a new class to begin training on April 17. In the meantime, temporarily modifying schedules allows the company to continue service without overburdening bus operators and dispatchers.
“The last thing we want to do is cut service,” says Director of Operations Jennifer Sweten. “We tried to hold off as long as we could. But with so many employees out sick during flu season, and a continuing labor shortage, we just had no choice but to relieve the pressure on our current operators.”
Revised schedules for Routes 1 and 2 will be posted shortly; schedules for Routes 8 and 12 are up to date on the Mountain Line website: Maps & Schedules – Mountain Line. The Transit app will be updated with new schedules before Route 1 and 2 changes take effect in two weeks; in the meantime, riders are advised to verify schedules on the Mountain Line website directly and watch Mountain Line’s social media channels for any updates.
Routes 8 and 12 reduced schedules:
Route 8 Outbound buses will depart from the UM Music Building hourly from 6:54 a.m. to 8:54 a.m. and from 10:24 a.m. to 8:24 p.m.
Route 8 Inbound buses will depart from Community Hospital hourly from 6:20 a.m. to 8:20 a.m. and from 9:50 a.m. to 7:50 p.m.
Route 12 Outbound buses will depart from the Downtown Transfer Center hourly from 6:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., and from 5:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
Route 12 Inbound buses will depart from 55th & Gharrett at 6 a.m., hourly from 6:58 a.m. to 12:58 p.m., from 2:28 p.m. to 4:28 p.m., and from 5:43 p.m. to 8:43 p.m.
Mountain Line was named the top public transit agency in North America in its size in 2021, earning the American Public Transportation Association Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award. The agency also won the Montana Transit Association statewide safety award in 2021. Committed to a zero-tailpipe-emissions fleet by 2035, Mountain Line has a long-standing commitment to clean air, public health, and a more sustainable future. Since becoming a zero-fare system in 2015, ridership has increased nearly 70 percent. During normal times, Mountain Line provides more than 1.5 million rides annually, helping students get to school, employees get to work, and seniors and those living with disabilities stay active, mobile, and independent. By reducing the number of single vehicles on the road, lessening traffic congestion, and investing in electric buses, Mountain Line benefits us all.