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Missoula's Mountain Line Unveils a New Look

The Missoula (MT) Urban Transportation District, operator of Mountain Line bus service, recently unveiled new buses with an exterior redesign inspired by the region’s natural surroundings. The exterior of each bus displays a different graphic showing people participating in leisure activities familiar to the community.

“We at Mountain Line are thrilled to be unveiling a new look for our agency,” said spokesperson Topher Williams. “Providing high-quality, high-frequency transit that Missoula can be proud of is something that benefits us all.” The new buses will enter service Jan. 5.

“Missoula is an amazing place to live, work, and play,” said Tia Metzger, account executive at Montana Marketing Group, which designed the new look. “We wanted to make sure that Mountain Line reflects the adventure in our lifestyle.”

In 2013, voters approved a property tax mill levy—or $19.11 on a home valued at $100,000—that has allowed Mountain Line to expand its service, which includes adding vehicles to the fleet. The new buses will serve two high-frequency BOLT! routes, which will connect all parts of the city with 15-minute headways. The millage also supports extending service until 10 p.m. on four popular routes and upgrading paratransit operations.

Also on Jan. 5, Mountain Line will launch a three-year zero-fare demonstration project throughout the fixed route system, sponsored by a coalition of local businesses and government agencies.

“The new buses we have acquired are needed to meet the increased ridership demand that we are anticipating,” Williams said. He noted that the buses are equipped with red interior lighting, which he said would enhance passenger safety because the light reduces glare on the windshield while allowing passenger visibility.

“With expanded services from the levy combined with zero-fare transit, we are projecting about a 45 percent increase in our ridership over the next few years. We are excited to grow Mountain Line and be a national example of what a small urban transit system can accomplish,” he added.

Kayaking is among the outdoor activities showcased on Mountain Line’s new buses.


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