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Bozeman’s HRDC celebrates 17 years of zero-fare public transportation, 50 years of Galavan service

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On Aug. 24, Bozeman’s Human Resource Development Council hosted a public luncheon celebrating public transportation milestones in Bozeman. HRDC is a nonprofit organization in Montana that tackles issues such as food insecurity, poverty, and in this case, affordable transportation. 

Streamline bus, a zero-fare Bozeman line, services Belgrade and Bozeman year-round. The Galavan bus system transports people aged 60 years and older or persons with disabilities, many of whom use it to get to appointments, errands and social events. 

At the luncheon, representatives from Belgrade, Bozeman, Montana Department of Transportation and the federal government all shared support for the achievements of HRDC and further development of public transportation in Gallatin County.

“I think it’s a huge impact on the community in a positive way,” Sunshine Ross, HRDC transportation director, said. “The more we expand the service more conveniently, the more we make it more frequent, we’ll start seeing a significant increase in ridership.”

She explained that Streamline plans to return to 30-minute service during peak times in the morning and afternoons during the fall. Ross explained that the COVID-19 lockdown showed how essential public transit was to the community, with many essential workers taking the bus. 

“We knew that those people were riding, they didn’t have another choice to use public transportation to get to essential jobs, like health care workers and service industry,” Ross said. 

As for connections to Big Sky, Ross said that HRDC is working more “intentionally and collaboratively” with Skyline. Though they are separate entities, Bozeman and Big Sky’s Urban Transportation Districts officials hope to develop ways to connect the services better. 

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