The local bus system held a barbecue Tuesday to celebrate its first year of operation and its transportation of nine times as many passengers as anticipated.
North Central Montana Transit system director Jim Lyons said that from Aug. 24, 2009, through Aug. 23, 2010, the system transported 18,012 passengers — the system was approved for creation with the expectation of transporting 2,000 to 4,000 each year.
The buses connect with the Rocky Boy’s and Fort Belknap Indian reservations, transporting passengers between Havre and the Fort Belknap Agency and stopping at points in between, and doing the same at Box Elder.
Special routes have been used for transporting students in Montana State University-Northern’s YouthBuild Program and to take children to and from the Boys & Girls Club of the Hi-Line over the summer.
The buses also have been used for special events, like transporting a Canadian pipe band to and from a performance during Festival Days.
The buses also have been working with Northern in testing its biodiesel, running on a 20-percent blend of the alternative fuel produced at the university.
The barbecue was held at the system’s bus garage east of town.