Amid surging ridership, Helena's Capital Transit considers expanding service

Phil Drake

The city of Helena is considering expanding its Capital Transit services in Lewis and Clark County, possibly into the North Helena Valley and westward after seeing steady growth in passengers and potential elsewhere.

During a joint meeting in July between city and county commissioners, Chris Couey, deputy director of transportation systems for the city of Helena, said Capital Transit ridership has grown about 250% in a year, during which it transitioned from a fixed route to a more flexible schedule in which customers call for rides. However, service to East Helena remained a fixed route.

Couey said that in July 2021, there were 1,058 people who used Capital Transit. In July 2022, that number hit 3,843. In August 2021, ridership was 1,104. So far, in August 2022, it was 3,559.

“The system is very good and it’s very adaptable,” he said, adding that drivers are not overwhelmed and people are not waiting a long time for their ride.

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The city started its new ride scheduling service model March 14 with a trip fare of 85 cents.

Couey said people seem to be willing to get back

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