In its first year of operation, the North Central Montana Transit system is getting attention around the nation and even around the world.
"We’ve had a lot of exposure on a national and international level," said Jim Lyons, the system's director.
The transit system received international recognition with a commendation given it by the International Transport Forum during its forum in Leipzig, Germany. The top prize went to a transit system in Madrid, Spain, and joint runners-up awards for a system in the United Kingdom and a system in India.
The system also received two of 12 awards bestowed from a national agency for its planning efforts, and its representatives are being invited to speak to groups around the state and around the nation.
Lyons recently was interviewed about the system and answered callers' questions in a show broadcast by Yellowstone Public Radio.
The recognition is for a combination of factors, Lyons said, ranging from the success of the system, its mingling of rural and in-city routes, partnerships with various organizations and its partnership with Montana State University-Northern in using biodiesel.
That partnership has grown and was directly linked to Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway starting a year-long test of locally produced biodiesel.
“I think we’ve started to drive a potential industry up here and maybe the potential to change … the economic landscape of the area,” Lyons said.