Monthly Archives: March 2013

Tickets can be purchased at the bus depot

Good to know you can buy your ticket at the bus depot prior to boarding the bus. What’s more, these local guys can book you onto any bus in the country that is part of the interlined network. They are not restricted to selling for one company or another.

I’ve heard that the local agents have gone above and beyond this week and deserve a big thank you. Many of them are independent contractors.

Advertisements

Information about Jefferson Lines new route connecting Billings to Missoula

Here is the press release from Jefferson Lines

Jefferson Lines Expands Montana Service

 Billings, MT – On Saturday, March 30th, Jefferson Lines Bus Company will launch new routes connecting Billings and Missoula, Montana. Jefferson will also be extending its Glendive run from Fargo on into Billings. The routes will include daily service in either direction between the two cities, and will facilitate Jefferson Lines adding bus service to several other Montana communities, including Livingston, Bozeman, and Butte.  “We are excited to extend Jefferson Lines’ trademark comfortable ride and quality customer service to these communities,” said Kevin Pursey, Jefferson Lines Director of Marketing and Culture. “This is going to be a real benefit to passengers in the northwest states of Washington, Idaho and Wyoming as well as those passengers going east to North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and on into Chicago.”

From the new service areas in Montana, Jefferson Lines will continue to connect with existing intercity bus networks like Greyhound and Arrow Stage Lines. This will make it more convenient for passengers to travel the area and points beyond.

Jefferson Lines is a family-owned company founded in 1919 that is currently being run by the third generation to actively manage the business. The company is a member of the American Bus Association, United Motorcoach Association, National Tour Association and many other local visitor associations and chambers of commerce.

Schedule and fare information is available at www.jeffersonlines.com or call toll free 800-451-5333.

About Jefferson Lines

Founded in 1919 in Minneapolis, Jefferson has maintained its position as a leader in providing transportation throughout the Midwest. Jefferson Lines provides intercity bus service to thirteen states, serving more than 160 communities nationwide. Jefferson Lines provides direct connections to thousands of destinations in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

Montana Bus Service Being Restored, Minnesota and Idaho companies plan to fill gap in national system

With passengers facing detours over 600 miles and bus companies in neighboring states facing financial losses, multiple parties have been scrambling to restore Montana bus service since last Friday when Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) inspectors shut down the Billings-based Rimrock Stages bus fleet. Limited service on I-90 is resuming tomorrow, and additional runs are likely to be reestablished next week, much sooner than many had expected thanks to a Missoula-based transportation consulting firm that volunteered to step in to help coordinate and expedite the process.

Jefferson Lines, a Minnesota-based company will begin running one round trip from Billings through Butte to Missoula starting on March 30th. Jefferson will also be extending its Glendive run from Fargo on into Billings. As early as next Friday, Salt Lake Express, based in Rexburg, Idaho, hopes to start two additional round trips between Billings and Missoula that Rimrock Stages has been operating. One of the trips will go through Helena.

The reopening of the I-90 route will reconnect the Montana link in the bus service network for the nation’s northern tier. Since the shutdown, a rider planning to travel between Spokane and Minneapolis would have been forced to detour through Salt Lake City and Denver. While this would be a minor inconvenience for a plane traveler, bus passengers faced greatly increased travel times. Moreover, riders in Montana communities with no alternative connections like Great Falls, Helena, and Bozeman were completely stranded.

The different players are looking at the logistics of reestablishing connections for Rimrock Stages’ other routes, including Great Falls-Helena-Butte, Whitefish-Kalispell-Missoula, and Billings-Dickinson-Bismark-Fargo.  It appears that most, if not all, of Rimrock Stages’ intercity routes could be reestablished and Montana communities could experience no reduction in service frequency or coverage.  The Whitefish-Kalispell-Missoula route will likely be the most difficult to reestablish.

Since last weekend, Lisa Ballard of Current Transportation Solutions has volunteered her time to act as a central point of contact and facilitator for the parties involved. Ballard’s Missoula-based transportation consulting company has worked closely with Rimrock Stages, gaining a detailed knowledge of the Montana bus service through development of a 2011 transit plan completed under contract with the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT). At Rimrock’s request, Ballard has provided Jefferson Lines and Salt Lake Express with a list of Rimrock’s bus drivers so that the new operators can choose to hire experienced Montana drivers who know the routes. Current Transportation Solutions has also created a temporary website with updates and information about the situation: https://mtndintercity.wordpress.com/

Ballard said that both MDT and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) are also working hard to seek solutions.

”I’ve been working in transit for a long time and I know firsthand that many riders depend on bus service and have no alternatives,” said Ballard. “In the last week I’ve heard a lot of stories about the hardship this shutdown is causing and that’s what motivates me to help.”

Optimistic about reinstating service between Missoula and Billings, transcontinental coverage

It looks promising that we will be able to reinstate services between Missoula and Billings within a week. With tweaks to some other routes, this will enable travel across the country. Getting services going on US 93 between Missoula and Whitefish; I-15 between Butte and Great Falls, and I-94 between Billings and North Dakota will be more challenging.

New site set up to share information

As you may be aware Rimrock discontinued its service across Montana and North Dakota on Friday March 25, 2013. As they work with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to reopen, we are working to coordinate with other bus companies with the goal of getting service running as soon as possible. Right now we are in the information gathering phase. We don’t yet know how quickly service will restart. As soon as we know more, we will post it here.