BOZEMAN, Mont.- Streamline celebrated 12 years of service and 3 million rides by hosting a free barbeque on Thursday for the community.
Streamline first started roaming the streets in 2006 but the process to bring a transit system into Bozeman dates all the way back to 1986.
According to Streamline, The city of Bozeman created a Transit Task Force in 2001 to study different transit systems to create a system that would be right for Bozeman.
It was after this study that Streamline was born, a zero-fare transit system run by the non-profit HRDC. The buses started making main stops at Montana State University and downtown Bozeman every hour, Monday-Friday.
“The big risk we were taking, was it enough for people to ride the bus, and pretty quickly we found out that yes people will ride public transportation in Bozeman, Montana,” said HRDC Chair David Kack. “Then requests started coming in for more services, going more places, more frequently, but we laid a good foundation back in 2007.”
As Bozeman started rapidly growing, Streamline received various requests from the community for added bus stops more frequently. That’s when they decided to add half-hour frequency in the morning and afternoon peaks then created the late-night service, and added rides on the weekends.
When Todd Fahlstrom moved to Four Corners from Minnesota last year. finding a public transit system was a must because he doesn’t drive. He put in a request with Streamline to add a stop on Jackrabbit near Taco Time, which was later approved.
“I haven’t driven for 22 years, so being able to have a bus stop in front of my house and not have to walk a mile is very nice and convenient,” said Fahlstrom.
“We hear these requests of what people want, what those costs will be. We go to a lot of different partners and see if we can put that funding together. It has been wildly successful and we hope to keep it going for years and years to come,” said Kack.
Funding these new stops isn’t always easy because the transit is run by a non-profit organization. Kack said it is important to the board to make sure Streamline stays fare free while still providing as many routes as possible. Streamline does this by being sponsored by the City of Bozeman, Montana Department of Transportation, Montana State University, and the Associated Students of MSU.
Streamline hopes to gain more funding in the future in order to add more services including bike share, carpooling and vanpooling.