Students, faculty and staff will be able to hop a ride to campus again when the Associated Students of The University of Montana start running buses on regular routes Aug. 27, the first day of autumn semester classes.
The buses run Monday through Friday during the academic year on routes from campus to Park-N-Ride locations, including South Avenue to the University Villages apartments, Dornblaser Field and Lewis and Clark Apartments throughout the day, as well as an East Broadway Avenue route every 10 minutes. Special lots on these routes allow students, faculty and staff to park for free and catch the bus to campus.
An additional bus runs between the mountain campus and Missoula College UM (formerly the College of Technology) every 15 minutes.
The buses – nine in total, with six running during the day – were purchased and are maintained with student-approved ASUM transportation fees. Bus service is free and well-used. About 1,500 riders take the bus to and from campus daily, a total of 3,000 rides per day with about 450,000 rides provided last academic year.
Riders are definitely getting their money’s worth, too.
“Students invest more than $1 million dollars in transportation options annually,” said ASUM Office of Transportation Director Nancy Wilson.
About 40 percent of riders walk to the ASUM bus stops, expanding the walking district to UM and MC, Wilson added.
The riders who commute on the buses daily also alleviate parking congestion on campus. To increase on-campus parking to accommodate the 1,500 daily riders of the ASUM buses would require a parking garage more than four times the size of the new five-story East Front Street Parking Structure under development downtown.
The buses also provide safe, alternative transportation for students heading downtown with the UDASH shuttle. The service runs until midnight Monday through Wednesday, until 2:30 a.m. with service every 30 minutes on Thursday, and from 7 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. with service every 15 minutes Friday and Saturday. The UDASH runs from the mountain campus to south campus, then downtown and back to mountain campus.
For more information and to see routes, go to http://www.umt.edu/asum/ot, and see real-time bus maps at http://www.asumbus.com. Call ASUM Office of Transportation Director Nancy Wilson at 406-243-4599, or email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.