Streamline Wins National Transit Award

Streamline transported hundreds of essential workers during the pandemic.

BOZEMAN — This month, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) honored Gallatin Valley’s Streamline bus system for keeping the community connected and essential workers on the job during the COVID pandemic.

Streamline was one of six rural transit agencies to receive a “Connecting Rural Communities” Award from the FTA. The other agencies are in Massachusetts, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska and Texas.

“From converting buses into vaccination clinics, to delivering meals to senior citizens and students, to bringing healthy groceries to food deserts and reaching underserved people, these six transit agencies and their workers went above and beyond,” said FTA Administrator Fernandez. “Our agency is proud to support transit agencies around the country who are playing such essential roles in the communities they serve.”

“We’re very proud of this national acknowledgement and the dedication demonstrated by our drivers and other staff,” said Sunshine Ross, Transportation Director for HRDC, which operates Streamline.

In April and May 2020, when communities in its service area were shut down due to pandemic stay-at-home orders, Streamline continued its service to provide zero-fare transportation for essential workers. Over that period, Streamline provided 8,964 rides and Galavan, its paratransit service, provided 1,313 rides. 

“These riders had no options other than public transportation, and we are grateful that we could continue to serve them during this difficult time,” Ross said. “Despite providing fewer rides than usual in 2020 due to the pandemic, we still provided approximately 140,000 rides on Streamline and 15,000 rides on Galavan. Many of these riders were accessing Bozeman Health services such as dialysis, cancer treatment, wound care, and some were essential health care workers.”

In 2020, Streamline also completed an extensive study of its existing routes and identified ways to improve its service. Because of the rapid population growth in Bozeman and the surrounding communities, local stakeholders decided a major update was needed to ensure system efficiency. The recommendations of this study were implemented in August of 2021 and are already showing major signs of success. 

Whether you ride the bus or not, Streamline’s zero-fare transportation service benefits us all. Riders — including workers, seniors, students, and veterans —  get quick, convenient access to the places they need to go, while drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians benefit from less traffic congestion, reduced air pollution, and more available parking spaces.