In an effort to meet future community transportation need in Missoula, ASUM Transportation recently applied for and received a Clean Diesel Grant from Montana Department of Environmental Quality. A new El Dorado bus will replace one of the 1997 New Flyer buses which are currently in use. The new bus is being ordered and will be received September of 2013. Brian Spangler of Montana DEQ found ASUM Transportation a great candidate for this grant.
Growth of service caused students to purchase used equipment to meet demand. The service gave 3,860 rides in 2000 and in 2012 the system gave 445,000 rides. The service went from a 15 passenger van to a 6 bus system in a very short time. With buses costing around $400,000 new and $40,000 used, the students found that used equipment met their needs but were not state of the art equipment and caused some issues with the surrounding neighborhood. In an effort to address these concerns ASUM has been looking for additional funding and was thrilled to be awarded this grant.
“ASUM Transportation has taken community concerns about noise and pollution levels very seriously,” said ASUM President Zach Brown. “Our service has been reducing traffic congestion and overall emissions along our routes for years. But it is our obligation to plan our future growth so that we can purchase the most efficient, quiet, and environmentally friendly buses that student dollars can afford. This grant is a huge step in the right direction–for us, and for the community of Missoula.”
Students continue to appreciate the convenience and efficiency of their bus system. Likewise, many University District residents appreciate the fact that traffic counts continue to be reduced in this corridor even as the student population grows. This new bus and the existing system is essential to linking student housing, recreation, general services and Missoula College to the main campus.
Sally Daer, a long-time Missoula resident and member of the University District community, has seen ASUM Transportation services improve her neighborhood over the last decade.
“I used to have a really hard time backing out of my driveway because of traffic, but ASUM’s bus service has really reduced traffic congestion along Arthur Avenue and I no longer have those problems,” she said. “I think those buses have really improved my neighborhood over the years.”
ASUM Transportation is one of only a handful of student-run, student-funded transportation organizations in the country.
Nancy Wilson, Director
Associated Students of The University of Montana Office of Transportation
Zachary Brown, President
Associated Students of the University of Montana
office: 406.243.2038 | cell: 406.396.3037