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Types of Public Transit

Public Transportation Coordination

Types of Public Transit

Transportation services vary for each community. Some options include:

Public Transportation

Fixed Route
(Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula)
Public transportation service provided in vehicles operated along predetermined routes according to a fixed schedule. Service routes: are close to housing, health facilities, shopping, and other common destinations.

Fixed-route transit includes services on accessible buses

  • Buses that run on a predetermined route on a fixed schedule
  • All buses have wheelchair ramps/lifts.

Transportation services for individuals who have a disability that prevents them from independently using regular fixed route transit services. If the person's disability prevents them from getting to or from the bus stop

  • Application Process to become eligible for Para-transit service.
  • Para-transit service must be provided within 3/4 of a mile of a bus route
  • At the same hours and days
  • No more than twice the regular fixed route fare.
  • The ADA further requires that Para-transit rides be provided to all eligible riders if requested any time the previous day, within an hour of the requested time.

Demand Response and/or Dial-A-Ride
Non-fixed route system of transporting individuals that requires advanced scheduling. An advance request for service is a key characteristic of demand-responsive and/or dial-a-ride service provided by public entities, nonprofits, and private providers.

  • Service where a customer must call to receive it
  • Origin of service might be limited
  • Reservations are typically required 24 hours in advance
  • Service is Curb to Curb or Door to Door
  • Is not direct, point-to-point service. Your trip is scheduled with other riders, so allow a little extra time to get to your destination when scheduling your trip
  • The dial-a-ride service can arrive 15 minutes before to 15 minutes after your scheduled pickup time.

Transit Passes

  • Promotes a cost savings and increases rider choice and independence
  • Passes can be in the form of bus passes, tokens, fare cards, or coupon books

Travel Training

  • Training, most often for public, fixed route services, on using a transit system

Vanpool programs
(Missoula Ravalli Transportation Management Association)

  1. Part of the transit system that allows groups of people to share the ride similar to a carpool, but on a larger scale with savings in fuel and vehicle operating costs

Vehicles may be provided by individuals, individuals in cooperation with various public and private support programs, through a program operated by or on behalf of the government, or a program operated by or on behalf of an employer.

The idea is that people share the ride from home or one or more common meeting locations and travel together to a common destination, such as a work center.

Private For-Profit Companies

Is a type of vehicle for hire, with a driver, for a single passenger, or small group of passengers, typically for a non-shared ride. A taxicab conveys passengers between locations of their choice.

  • No reservation required and no advance notification required
  • Some companies operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Taxi companies charge a price per ride
  • May provided services outside of the local community for an additional cost
  • Some taxis are accessible, but the majority in Montana are not accessible

Private Non-Profit Companies

Human Service Transportation

  • Provided by human service agencies for specific customers
    1. Senior Center; Council On Aging
    2. Developmental Disability Programs
  • Transportation that meets needs of customers served
  • Characteristics of the services would likely vary from agency to agency
  • Training is often one-to-one training, and tailored to the trainee and often times focuses on the specific routes that the individual wants to learn


Very limited or no public transportation and options cover a range of possibilities such as:

  1. Human service transportation may include Medicaid providers, adult, veterans, and senior services, residential or recreational services
  2. Other providers include family members, co-workers, volunteers, and cooperatives such as ride-matching services