MISSOULA – Staff at Mountain Line are celebrating with news the transit agency is receiving a major grant which will upgrade many local bus stops plus the addition of three more electric buses for the fleet.
The $2.7 million grant from the Federal Transit Agency will fund a portion of Mountain Line’s Bus Stop Master Plan, providing key upgrades including better access for disabled riders which is a key objective for the transit system.
"Yes, absolutely. So with this funding, it will allow us to do Routes 1 and 2 which are our high-frequency routes, which receive over half of our ridership each day. They’ll be upgraded so they’ll all be ADA accessible, which includes other routes which connect with Routes 1 and 2," Mountain Line General Manager Corey Aldridge said.
But the new money is also giving another shot to Mountain Line’s plans to add more electric buses. The system was already planning to add three new electric buses, similar to those already in use on the University of Montana campus. Now, the grant will allow the purchase of an additional three electric coaches in the future.
"You know we’ve been looking for federal funding to help us replace some of our old, aging buses. We were excited to get three new buses, but now to get six, that’s really exciting news for Missoula," Aldridge said.
The first electric buses will be delivered a year from now.