Regular bus service set to resume in Great Falls

Posted at 10:49 AM, May 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-23 12:50:20-04

Governor Steve Bullock on Tuesday announced the state will move to phase two of the "Reopening The Big Sky" plan on Monday, June 1st, which will allow more activities to resume and enable people to gather in larger groups.

The Great Falls Transit District says that it will resume fixed route bus services that day. Regular bus service was suspended on March 17 due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Great Falls Transit says that with the resumption of bus service, passengers will be required to supply and wear a mask/facial covering while on board.

The agency also said that "passengers with a cough or fever are asked to NOT use our services and report to your medical provider for treatment." In addition, they said that June monthly passes will sold at half-price.

For more information, visit the Great Falls Transit website , or call 727-0382.

Here are some of the other highlights of Phase Two:

  • Avoid gatherings in groups of more than 50 people in circumstances that do not readily allow for appropriate physical distancing. Groups larger than 50 people should be cancelled unless physical distancing can be maintained. It is recommended to continue to social distance in gatherings of any size.
  • Restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries, and casinos remains in the same operations status as Phase One, but with an increase to 75% capacity.
  • Gyms, indoor group fitness classes, pool, and hot tubs can operate at 75% capacity and only if they can adhere to strict physical distancing and they exercise frequent sanitation protocols.
  • Concert halls, bowling alleys, and other places of assembly may operate with reduced capacity and if they adhere to strict physical distancing guidelines.
  • All businesses are required to follow the social distancing and sanitation guidelines established in Phase One, and Montanans are strongly encouraged to continue sanitation practices, including hand washing and wearing masks in public places like grocery stores.

Click here to read the complete "phase two" document (PDF)

(APRIL 4, 2020) Paratransit was declared “essential” last week, but the Great Falls Transit District announced this week that they will be canceling all fixed route and paratransit services.

Paratransit services primarily consist of public transportation options for people that either need to get to a healthcare facility for some form of treatment, or qualify for transportation to and from places like grocery stores and pharmacies due to preexisting conditions.

United Way of Cascade County announced on Thursday that they are working with several organizations to provide alternatives for people who rely on paratransit services to get them from place to place.

“United Way reached out to Opportunities Inc., Alluvion Health Care, Aging Services and other community resources to find transportation options,” the organization said in a press release. “We provided $2,000 to Opportunities Inc., which also is providing some funding as well, to pay BlackOut Taxi to transport people who used para transit services from the GF Transit Authority. People can call Blacked Out directly and they will bill Opp. Inc. They will be reimbursed for trips for any essential service -- medical, pharmacy, groceries.”

The money is coming from United Way’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, which was created to respond to community needs. The organization noted that as those needs evolve over time, so will the fund.

“The Paratransit situation, I think, is a perfect example of something we hadn’t anticipated,” said Gary Owen, United Way of Cascade County President. “But, because we had those resources available, we were able to step up and help meet that need on an almost immediate situation.”

This program is only for people who used Paratransit services from the Great Falls Transit District prior to the stoppage, and you can call Blacked Out Taxi at 406.781.5218 if you need a ride somewhere.

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