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$1.7 million Mountain Line levy passes

By Faith Smith, KECI Reporter, fcronin@keci.com
Published On: Nov 05 2013 11:38:56 PM MST
MISSOULA Mont. -

Tuesday night Missoula residents passed a $1.7 million mill levy to improve the Mountain Line bus system.

NBC Montana talked to Mountain Line managers to find out what this will mean for riders.  

“They'll be more vehicles for curb to curb service for seniors and folks with disabilities which is much needed it's at capacity right now,” says Michael Tree, general manager of Mountain Line.  

Tree says not only will services expand but late evening hours will be added to four of the most popular routes.

“1, 2, 6 and 7 will operate until 9:50 p.m. at night,” he tells us.  “We'll operate in smaller busses on an hour frequency so if you work at the mall for example you're going to get a ride home when you get off at 9:00 p.m.”

Missoula resident Cali Beeson tells NBC Montana she's thrilled she will be able to ride the bus home after a late shift at work.

“Expanding bus services is beneficial,” says Beeson.  “Being a frequent rider of the bus and an employee at the University of Montana it helps people who want to work late in to the evenings and I did not like when the busses were cut off at 5:30 p.m. because if you missed the bus then you have to call a friend.”

Tree says Mountain Line will also increase bus frequency for riders on several different routes.

Route 6, which runs through the downtown area will go to the mall and then to Community Medical on a 30-minute frequency.

“Route 2 for example will operate on a 15-minute all day frequency and that will match the frequency of route 1,” explains Tree.

But not everyone was happy the levy passed; Missoula resident Kimberly Edwards says she thinks Mountain Line’s current services are enough.  

“There are not a lot of people riding the bus -- I've seen in bigger cities people are just packed in there and you can't really move and I haven't seen that here,” says Edwards.  “I love the Mountain Line I think they're wonderful but I think it's just enough for Missoula.”

Tree tells NBC Montana it's been over 35 years since Mountain Line asked for a mill levy and he's excited about expanding Missoula’s bus services.  

“You're going to find an explosion in rider-ship as people find the mountain line easier and more convenient to use,” says Tree.

Tree tell us they will look at purchasing three new buses this week and he say riders can expect service changes to take place in about one year from now.