Mountain Line is adding six new electric buses to its fleet, and they're preparing to reveal the design at a special event.
Mountain Line says their ridership went from 900,000 to more than 1.5 million after they started their zero fare initiative. They say that jump helped them win two grants to buy the new buses and improve their facilities: a Low and No-Emission Grant for $500,000 and a Bus Facilities Grant for $2.7 million.
Mountain Line says the electric buses will help grow their fleet. It will also allow them to retire their two oldest buses. Mountain Line general manager Corey Aldridge says the eco-friendly buses will also help clean up Missoula's air.
"We are considered a non-attainment area, meaning we do not meet the air quality standards. We're getting there, we're really close," Aldridge said. "With this, this will help us be one step closer to that."
The event isn't just about the buses. Missoula in Motion will also reveal the winners of its Clear the Air Challenge, a carpooling competition to see which Missoula residents could help clean up the air the most by cutting down on CO2 emissions.
The new bus design and the Clear the Air challenge winners will be revealed during the Zero-Fare Clean Air Event at the Mountain Line Transfer Center in downtown Missoula. The event will start at 12:15 p.m., and the buses will get to Missoula in July.