Montana Senator Steve Daines announced on Tuesday, that Missoula’s Mountain Line Bus System has received a federal grant for $2,726,888.

Mountain Line’s General Manager Cory Aldrich said the grant has been long anticipated due to the need for new buses to replace the current aging fleet.

“We were looking for funding to replace some of our aging buses, and we’re looking to purchase new electric buses and to fund our bus stop master plan,” said Aldrich. “We’ll update our bus stop signs as well as add in signs that are missing throughout the entire system, as well as upgrade routes one and two, both 15 minute routes, with all the amenities so they’re ADA accessible and people will have shelters to wait in.”

Aldrich said the new buses will be similar to the electric buses now featured in the U-Dash routes at the University of Montana.

“We were also awarded earlier this year, a low-emission, no-emission grant to purchase electric buses, so this will be just what we needed,” he said. “We can get those buses ordered and it usually takes about 18 months to get them delivered. These buses will come from Proterra, the same company that U-DASH  ASUM used for their electric buses.”

Aldrich said the Mountain Line will continue to offer free bus service thanks to grants from a group of government agencies and private businesses.

Aldrich answered the question of why there are no Mountain Line bus stops on Reserve Street, and on parts of Brooks Street.

“In order for a bus route to be successful, it has to be able to be approached on foot or by bike, and Reserve right now is just not approachable,” he said. “Rarely do you see people walking down Reserve Street, and it’s not permeable, allowing people to cross the road. That’s a challenge on Reserve and a challenge on Brooks Street to figure out a way to overcome that so we can provide service.”

Aldrich said work will begin on the bus stops almost immediately.


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