BILLINGS — After over a year of planning, the Billings MET Transit launched new routes and longer hours of bus availability on Monday.
“Previous to this change, our headways were about every hour to about hour and 20 minutes or so as far as how long you had to wait between buses,” Rusty Logan, the transit manager for the Billings MET, said on Monday.
Now, the bus system will offer multiple 30-minute routes and a 15-minute bus loop route around downtown that goes by the medical corridor.
Along with the new routes, the buses will now run from 5:45 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays. This adds an additional couple of hours for riders to use the bus to and from their destinations.
Joseph Huss rides the MET Bus almost every day, and he was thrilled to learn about the new schedule. He uses the bus to ride to work and was occasionally late because of his route.
“That’s going to help me tremendously. Thank you guys. Thank you, City of Billings,” Huss said.
Billings MET is doing away with its previous system of passengers flagging down a bus to hop on. Instead, a bus will now only stop at one of the over 450 designated stops, which can be found roughly every quarter of a mile and are marked with MET signs.
This provides riders with easy-to-locate stops and allows MET Transit to be able to monitor the stops in case they need to modify a stop, such as adding more light to make one feel safer.
“We’ve given 700 rides today, so we’re on track to actually exceed our average daily rides so things are looking good," Logan said. “We’re really trying to make it as easy as possible to use the transit system.”
MET is also using the Passio Go App, which allows riders to track the bus they plan on using in real time.