Link to the Peak!

Contending with unparalleled growth in the Gallatin Valley and Big Sky, the Skyline and Streamline bus systems have been instrumental in alleviating a significant amount of traffic.

With only 16 months of service under its belt, Streamline is already making its mark on Bozeman, including the welcomed addition of a late-night service. Desired expansions include additional routes throughout Bozeman and to outlying areas such as Livingston, Three Forks, and West Yellowstone. Recent discussions have also addressed the need for direct access to the Gallatin Field Airport and Bridger Bowl. “We hope to solidify weekend service to and from Bridger Bowl this winter,” states Skyline Coordinator David Kack. “However, there are a lot of issues to consider before we can finalize the route.”

Celebrating its first anniversary, Skyline has also become a welcome addition to the area. Operating within Big Sky and the Link Express between Big Sky and Bozeman, Skyline services a vast array of transportation needs. “The ability to transport skis on the bus will definitely increase Link ridership this winter,” says Kack. “Who wouldn’t choose a comfortable, free-of-charge, and relaxing bus ride over traffic, parking, and the high cost of fuel?”

Providing over 200,000 rides in 2007, the bus systems have made travel better for everyone. “Each person that boards a Skyline or Streamline bus is one less vehicle on the road,” states Kack. Recent awards, including the NADO Award for Excellence in Regional Transportation and the EcoStar Award for Pollution Prevention reflect the value of public transportation throughout the community. Continued support from public and private sponsors, such as Moonlight Basin, will help to propel Skyline and Streamline as primary forms of transportation throughout Gallatin County.

The long-term benefits of public transportation improve traffic congestion, air quality, personal mobility and freedom, and road safety and mobility during emergencies. According to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), “public transportation use saves 1.4 billion gallons of gasoline every year, and can reduce household expenses by $6,200.”

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Bus Rides for Powderhounds: A Sustainable Cold Smoke Experience
Boot up, powderhounds, and be seated for a free bus ride to your favorite neighborhood ski area. Beginning opening weekend, Bridger Bowl’s weekend shuttle offers several round trips to the base area and back to town. Gallatin County Fairgrounds is the bus stop site and host for this free Park-N-Ride program.

Work at the ski area and need a lift? Bridger’s comprehensive transit system includes an employee pickup at the fairgrounds seven days a week. Carpooling? Rendezvous with friends at the fairgrounds and park at Bridger’s choice area, Lot A, which is reserved for carpoolers.

Bridger Bowl is adding two buses to its long-standing bus operation and is financing the transit contract alone. The program is experimental, and data gathered throughout the ski season will be analyzed to substantiate the need of service. According to marketing manager Doug Wales, Bridger Bowl is seeking community partners and sponsors to share transit expenses.

What can you do? Park your vehicle at the Fairgrounds and go for a free ride on the Cold Smoke express, or carpool. For more information on Bridger’s bus schedule and the Sustainability Initiative program, go to Spread the word!

-Estela Villaseñor