GREAT FALLS — With more people riding buses, especially in the colder weather, the Great Falls Transit District is working to make riding these buses a lot easier. Many Rivers Whole Health and Great Falls Transit District have become partners to help more people learn to ride the bus.
PACT (Program for Assertive Community Treatment) therapist James Reed says some of their clientele doesn't have access to effective transportation and want to help as many people as possible ride the bus, especially during the cold months. He added there is also uncertainty and anxiety associated with riding the buses for some people and he wants to help people have effective transportation without anxiety or fear of the unknown.
"What we started is a bus training and it's designed to take away the anxiety of a bus and the bus routes right over at the transfer station, They will bring in a bus, show them how to use the bus, takes that anxiety and that fear of the unknown away from the clients. So it helps them in living a better quality of life with freedom of transportation, and it helps by putting more people in the seats."
Both parties see this as an important and effective program, not only because of the cold temperatures, but because bus ridership is up as well. They want as many people as possible to have efficient, affordable options for transportation.
"We're doing everything we can to make it more transparent on how to ride the bus," operations manager Shawn Mahoney said. "We take people out in the bus and show them the bus, and it just removes a lot of the fear of riding the bus. And that's one of the things people don't know how is how to ride the bus and they fear riding the bus. So far it's worked out pretty good. We've had a low turnout mostly because of the weather, but each time we get more and more."
The trainings will be quarterly. For more information, call Great Falls Transit at 406-727-0382.
There have been at least 20,000 riders each month in 2022. October of last year was just over 23,000 riders, compared to 25,000 in October of this year, which is their latest info. The best month on record is May of 1999, which had 57,750 riders.
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