A partnership to provide bus service in north-central Idaho
is being hailed a success story by public transportation officials.
Launched in late January, Moscows first scheduled, fixed-route
public transportation service is the product of a partnership
between Valley Transit (based in Lewiston), the University
of Idaho (UI) and the city of Moscow.
at a glance
is the first fixed-route, scheduled bus service in
the Moscow area
began Jan. 20, 2004
run weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and riders can climb
on board for free.
consists of two separate, 30-minute loops through
downtown Moscow, the University of Idaho campus and
nearby shopping districts
daily ridership nears 140
of Idaho and the City of Moscow contributed a total
of $260,000 in matching funds for the project
grant funds administered through ITD provided approximately
$330,000 in startup and first-year expenses.
This is a significant success story, says Larry
Falkner, ITD Public Transportation Division Administrator.
Its a showcase for what local partnerships can
do with the states help, and what can be accomplished
when we get the right people to the table. These are the kinds
of partnerships we can put in place in communities around
Idaho that really need the service.
partnership means everything to us, says Tom La Pointe,
Valley Transits executive director. The primary
partners in it are the Feds and ITD, but also the locals
U of I and the city of Moscow also made a significant local
In addition to the funding partnership, on-campus parking
fees help pay the bills for the new bus service, which is
free to riders. A separate dial-a-ride service requires a
fee. It provides door-to-door service for people who otherwise
are not able to get to the scheduled bus stops and requires
a 24-hour advance reservation. That service provided the foundation
for the fixed route, according to La Pointe.
The bus service reaches beyond the university district. It
also provides service throughout the city of Moscow and connects
with service into Pullman, Wash., via the UI-Washington State
University shuttle, ultimately creating a more connected region.
Still within its first month of operation, an average of
nearly 140 people ride the buses every day. That alone is
an endorsement of the projects need, Falkner says.
Creating the service has been years in the making. Several
years ago, ITD was approached for funding to study public
transit needs in the area. Early in the study, results proved
an overwhelming need, and research efforts were suspended.
The ITD board approved use of the remaining $18,000 study
funds for other MVT project needs.
Federal designation of Lewiston as an urban area in 2002
freed up rural transportation funds within Idahos District
2. Valley Transit, in partnership with the city and the university,
competed for and received capital and operating grants totaling
nearly $330,000 to provide service in Moscow, which is one
of the largest rural communities in the state that doesnt
have a public, fixed-route service.
The University of Idaho provided $200,000 in soft
match, with the money it currently spends on its contract
with Wheatland Express to provide transit service to students,
faculty and staff. UI and the city combined to provide a hard
match of more than $60,000.
Dan Schoenberg, director of Auxiliary Services at UI, said
the new service is another way to assist students, faculty
and staff at the institution.
I am very pleased we are able to leverage the funds
we already spend with Wheatland Express to provide transportation
between Moscow and Pullman to create another transit option
for the entire Moscow community, he said.