Capital Transit of the City of Helena is launching a new service model to plan curb-to-curb trips within the city limits, in what officials said is an effort to make public transportation more flexible and accessible.
The new model will replace the fixed bus stops in Helena, which will operate within the city limits until March 21.
Starting Monday, passengers can download a new Capital Transit app to plan rides and pay fares. Riders were able to choose custom pickup and drop-off locations within Helena’s city limits, officials said.
The city’s transit system will still operate its fixed East Valley/East Helena routes. Passengers can use the East Valley/East Helena service to travel to the transit center and plan more trips within the city limits using the app, the city said in a news release.
The system has recently suffered some setbacks. The city’s two fixed bus lines were closed for most of November due to a lack of staff. The total number of rides per month in July, August and September on the service’s red route, which runs from Target on North Montana Avenue to St. Peter’s Health, and the blue route, which runs from Walmart on Prospect Avenue to the east of town. at the intersection of Waukesha Avenue and Glendale Street west, an average of 416, according to the City of Helena Department of Transportation Systems.
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Capital Transit’s bus service to East Helena was discontinued in late October, also due to staffing shortages.
The new app offers several features that provide a more versatile driving experience, city officials said:
• Route planning within Helena city limits
• Custom pick up and drop off locations
• Electronic payment of Fares
• Notifications for arrival of pick-up
• Map tracking trips in real time
Capital Transit’s new service model will have no impact on its fare structure. The fare is still 85 cents each way. Passes will also still be available for purchase at the Transit Center or online.
The city began testing the new route scheduling model in February with its paratransit users. The full rollout was originally slated for late March, but the recent increase in fuel prices prompted city staff to expedite the transition to help community members needing other transportation options, officials said. .
More information can be found at www.helenamt.gov/capital-transit/.