In the midst of its third year, the local bus transit system is providing some new services.
North Central Montana Transit now has a special morning and afternoon route between Havre and Harlem, and is stopping at the international airport on its twice-a-week run to Great Falls.
Director Jim Lyons said this morning that the new schedule is in effect and operating.
Opportunity Link Inc., the anti-poverty organization based in Havre, identified increased transportation as a major need in the community, and spearheaded the effort to create a local bus system.
The system started operation Aug. 24, 2009, transporting passengers between Fort Belknap and Rocky Boy with its main hub in Havre, with stops at points in between, and trips Tuesday and Thursday to Great Falls and back.
The proposal estimated between 2,000 and 4,000 passengers would be transported a year.
Instead, in its first year of operation, 18,012 passengers boarded the buses.
The new run to and from Harlem starts Monday through Friday at 6:45 a. m. in the Havre park-and-ride location in the old IGA building on 1st Street across from the Town Pump convenience store. Its next stop is in Chinook at 4th and Ohio at 7:15 a. m., then at Harlem Elementary School at 7:45 a. m. and Harlem High School at 7:55 a. m.
Monday through Thursday, the return trip starts at the elementary school at 4 p. m. with a stop at the high school at 4:10 p. m., in Chinook at 4:40 p. m. and back to the park-and-ride location at 5:15 p. m.
Friday, the schedule is moved up to accommodate early-out day at the schools, with the stop at the elementary school at 2:30 p. m., the high school at 2:40 p. m.. Chinook at 3:20 p. m and the park-and-ride location in Havre at 4:10 p. m.
The ride costs $1 each way.
In order to allow better access to the international airport in Great Falls, the transit system has added the airport to its Tuesday and Thursday runs to that city. The bus, which leaves Fort Belknap Agency at 6:40 a. m. and makes stops in Harlem, Chinook, Havre, Laredo and Box Elder en route, makes a 10:45 a. m. stop at the airport after its stops at the Great Falls transit system transit center, and stops at Benefis Hospitals east and west campuses.
It then returns to the airport at 2:15 p. m. before going to the other Great Falls stops and reversing its route and stops back to Fort Belknap.