GREAT FALLS — Hopping on a city bus in Great Falls is something many people do on a regular basis - but there are probably just as many if not more people who never have.
That's why Alliance For Youth, the United Way of Cascade County, and Great Falls Transit are working to educate people about the transit system.
A Great Falls Transit bus pulled away from Alliance For Youth on Wednesday to take about a dozen passengers on a 30-minute ride around the city.
"We know that public transportation can be a barrier for a lot of people, so what we're hoping to do is educate the public about how to use the buses and also what are the barriers in using buses,” explained Kim Skornogoski of United Way of Cascade County.
Shyla Patera rides the buses frequently and is a Great Falls Transit board member.
For her, the buses are more than just transportation. They give her a voice: "My disabilities don't allow me to drive,” Patera said.
“(They allow me to) be a part of the community and work and advocate for people with disabilities and riders as I need,” Patera said.
Prior to the bus ride, riders were given a presentation about the transit service.
Feedback from riders during the week's events will be used to help improve the service.
"Certainly, if there are small changes that can be made in the existing budget and within the existing transit district we can make some of those changes. But in order to make big changes, if we want to expand the transit district to Giant Springs or ADF, that would actually require a public vote,” said Skornogoski. "So obviously, in order to have the public vote we need to have the public on board."
"We really want Great Falls Transit to be the gem that it truly is,” said Patera.
Click here to learn more about Great Falls Transit.
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