Today, April 9, marks the anniversary of Missoula's Mountain Line bus system.

"The transit district was established by the voters in 1976, and it completed its first full year of operations in 1978," explained Michael Tree, Mountain Line's General Manager. "We're excited to celebrate that 35 years have passed and more than 22 million rides have been given in the community."

Both the number of routes and the price are four times what they were in 1978. Also, the emphasis of the bus routes has shifted from focusing on major routes to one that "collects" passengers and brings them in to the urban center (full history of the Mountain Line).

"In 1978 we started out with three bus routes and the fare was $.25," Tree said. "Today, we've added an additional nine bus routes, so we have 12 bus routes, and the fare is still a buck."

The Mountain Line will celebrate at noon today at the downtown transfer station. The celebration will include free food and drink, and presentations by Mayor John Engen, Missoula Urban Transportation District president Don MacArthur, and others.

Michael Tree: