APTA Award

Service Expansions

Arriving July 10, 2022

Thank you, Missoula Urban Transportation District voters, for your overwhelming support and approval of Mountain Line’s service expansion request!


Mountain Line is adding Sunday service for the first time ever and expanding hours on our existing routes!

In 2020, Missoula voters overwhelmingly approved funding to expand Mountain Line’s service hours. We’re putting 30% more service on the road starting Sunday, July 10, 2022.

Highlights of our service expansion include:

*Hours vary by route. See detailed schedules below.

We’re also changing some routing on Routes 3, 5 and 11 (see below) and increasing our service on holidays. Starting July 10, Mountain Line will operate everyday except: New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.


Route 3, 5 & 11 Routing Changes

Route 3 Northside

The Route 3 will change directions to operate in a counterclockwise loop, with minimal new routing. Bus stops will move to the appropriate side of the street as needed. See map below for details.

Click to enlarge.

Route 5 Rattlesnake

There will be two minor routing changes on Route 5 effective July 10. This will impact the bus stops shown below.

Click to enlarge.

Route 11 N. Reserve St. / Expressway / Airport

Route 11 will now have all day service! In order to maintain service efficiency, the first two trips of the day will no longer be express trips. There will also be some routing changes, impacting bus stops at the locations indicated on the map below.

Click to enlarge.

Background

Voters chose to invest in expanding zero-fare, accessible service in Missoula by a 20 percent margin on November 3, 2020. This initiative was born out of Mountain Line’s 2018 Strategic Plan.

Thank you for valuing the benefits Mountain Line provides to this community and for supporting expanding those benefits as our community grows. We are grateful for such strong support.

The main source of operations funding for Mountain Line has been its perpetual mill levy. Since the creation of the Missoula Urban Transportation District in 1976, Mountain Line has sought voter approval to increase its operating levy only once, prior to the 2020 election.

While Mountain Line originally intended to put this expanded service on the road in January of this year, we were impacted by the national labor shortage like so many in Missoula. In order to provide this level of expanded service, we needed to grow our team from 58 employees (where we were at in May of 2021) to 100 employees (a huge milestone we reached in June 2022). Now that we are fully staffed, we are excited to finally make these service expansions a reality on July 10, 2022!

Schedules Effective July 10, 2022

Download our new Route Map & Schedule PDF here.

July 10 - Weekday Schedules

Route 1 Downtown / University / Southgate Mall
Route 2 Southgate Mall / Target / Downtown
Route 3 Northside
Route 4 East Broadway Park and Ride / East Missoula / Bonner
Route 5 Rattlesnake
Route 6 Higgins / Opportunity Resources / Southgate Mall
Route 7 Downtown / Southgate Mall / Walmart
Route 8 University / 5th / 6th / Community Hospital / Southgate Mall
Route 9 Target Range / Community Hospital
Route 11 N. Reserve St. / Expressway / Airport
Route 12 Downtown / University / Dornblaser / South Hills
Route 14 Broadway / Russell

July 10 - Saturday Schedules

Route 1 Downtown / University / Southgate Mall
Route 2 Southgate Mall / Target / Downtown
Route 3 Northside
Route 4 East Broadway Park and Ride / East Missoula / Bonner
Route 5 Rattlesnake
Route 6 Higgins / Opportunity Resources / Southgate Mall
Route 7 Downtown / Southgate Mall / Walmart
Route 8 University / 5th / 6th / Community Hospital / Southgate Mall
Route 9 No Saturday Service
Route 11 N. Reserve St. / Expressway / Airport
Route 12 Downtown / University / Dornblaser / South Hills
Route 14 Broadway / Russell

July 10 - Sunday Schedules

Route 1 Downtown / University / Southgate Mall
Route 2 Southgate Mall / Target / Downtown
Route 3 Northside
Route 4 East Broadway Park and Ride / East Missoula / Bonner
Route 5 Rattlesnake
Route 6 Higgins / Opportunity Resources / Southgate Mall
Route 7 Downtown / Southgate Mall / Walmart
Route 8 No Sunday Service
Route 9 No Sunday Service
Route 11 N. Reserve St. / Expressway / Airport
Route 12 Downtown / University / Dornblaser / South Hills
Route 14 Broadway / Russell

Click to enlarge.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why isn't Mountain Line expanding service on Route 9?

Utilization of Route 9 does not warrant expanding service at this time.

Why wasn't Mountain Line able to put expanded service on the road earlier?

While Mountain Line originally intended to put this expanded service on the road in January of this year, we were impacted by the national labor shortage like so many in Missoula. In order to provide this level of expanded service, we needed to grow our team from 58 employees (where we were at in May of 2021) to 100 employees (a huge milestone we reached in June 2022). Now that we are fully staffed, we are excited to finally make these service expansions a reality on July 10, 2022!

Why is Mountain Line only expanding existing service and not adding new routes?

During the 2018 Strategic Planning process, Mountain Line heard from the community that Missoulians wanted the agency to first and foremost improve and expand service along existing corridors. The July 10 service expansion makes good on that request from our community.

Secondly, Mountain Line has been operating for over 40 years out of a facility based on 2.2 acres of land. The agency is currently out of space and cannot add additional vehicles to its fleet. In order to add new areas of service in Missoula, the agency needs to add more buses to its fleet to provide that service. Mountain Line is currently applying for a federal grant to secure funding to build a new facility. If awarded, the new facility would enable Mountain Line to add new areas of service.

How does Mountain Line benefit the entire community, even those who do not ride the bus?

Community Health: Mountain Line benefits the entire community by reducing the number of car trips, which helps reduce traffic and parking congestion and improves air quality throughout the Missoula Valley. Mountain Line recognizes the importance of clean air for a healthy community and has committed to a zero-tailpipe-emissions fleet by 2035, with 12 electric buses already on the road. Cleaner air and a lower carbon footprint benefits us all.

Community Equity: Mountain Line provides service at zero-fare, ensuring all Missoulians have access to safe, reliable transportation. By helping employees get to work, students get to school, and keeping seniors and those with disabilities active and mobile, Mountain Line is promoting a more equitable, healthier community – which benefits us all.

What are the special services Mountain Line provides for seniors and folks with disabilities?

In addition to operating a 100% ADA-accessible fixed-route bus service, Mountain Line also operates special origin-to-destination service for people with disabilities who are unable to use the fixed-route bus service, as well as dedicated curb-to-curb service for seniors. These essential services ensure all residents in the District have safe, reliable transportation to doctor’s appointments, grocery stores, and other important trips.

Does Missoula really have the demand to warrant an increase in bus service?

Mountain Line’s July 10 service expansion is a result of repeatedly heard from the community that we need full bus service on weekends and later evening service. This is explained in our 2018 Strategic Plan.

Mountain Line has seen an almost 70% increase in ridership since it debuted its Zero-Fare Program in 2015. Between 2018 and 2019, Mountain Line averaged 1.5 million rides annually. While ridership has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels on our fixed-route service, Mountain Line’s specialized transportation services for seniors and people with disabilities has exceeded pre-pandemic levels, with trends indicating demand for this special service will continue to rise at a rapid rate.

What role does Mountain Line play in the development of the city?

A zero-fare, easy-to-use public transit system is vital to a robust economy and a prosperous community. Public transportation ensures employees can get to work, students to school and customers can get to local businesses. When companies look to expand or relocate, their lists of wants often include quality public transportation. Analysts state that every $1 invested in public transportation yields $5 of economic return to the community.

Furthermore, Mountain Line generates approximately 100 livable-wage jobs in Western Montana.

How much does it cost to ride Mountain Line?

Mountain Line provides service at zero-fare! This means everyone — regardless of income or wealth – has access to affordable, reliable transportation. Ensuring zero-fare, accessible transportation is available to everyone in the Missoula Urban Transportation District promotes equity and provides equal access to work, school and essential services, which benefits our entire community.

For more information, please contact Communications, Outreach & Marketing Specialist Shanti Johnson, (406) 215-2461, sjohnson@mountainline.com.