Skyline bus system grows in popularity

SKYLINE BUS SYSTEM

On Feb. 18, the Skyline bus system hit a major mile mark: It boarded its one-millionth rider. Of those, around 700,000 rides have been in Big Sky, and another 350,000 rides between Bozeman and Big Sky.

In 2006, Skyline’s first year of service, the bus service gave over 108,000 rides. That number was more than double that of the previous Snow Express transit service. The growth has continued and, as of February 2014, Skyline had provided 1,018,305 rides with just its Big Sky and Bozeman services. Including its vanpool and West Yellowstone services, it has provide around 1,050,000 rides.

“Public transportation is a vital component for economic health and a community grows as a result,” said Meg O’Leary, former Chairman of the Big Sky Transportation District and current Director of the Montana Department of Commerce. “Skyline is a remarkable service we can all be proud of, and wouldn’t be the strong service if not for the committed and reliable riders.”

Skyline is a year-round transportation service, operating five to seven days a week depending on the season. Several distinct Skyline routes run throughout Big Sky, and the Link Express runs between Big Sky and Bozeman. Skyline and its operating partner Karst Stage also work together to provide a daily shuttle to Big Sky and West Yellowstone from the Bozeman and Belgrade areas and the airport.

Skyline provides access to the Big Sky area for those who may not otherwise be able to access the area, or for those who wish to save money and take the bus instead of driving.

“Moving workers and recreationists safely from Bozeman to the mountain as well as within the Big Sky community saves roads, fuel and lives,” said Madison County Commissioner Dave Schulz.

Madison County helps fund the Skyline system, and while many of the riders aren’t from Madison County, Schulz noted that Skyline certainly provides a service that benefits businesses and property owners in Madison County, including Big Sky Resort.