Missoula’s Mountain Line bus system hit an all-time ridership record in February. General Manager Corey Aldridge said ridership has been growing by almost 10,000 riders per month.

"For the month of February, we exceeded 100,000 rides for the first time in the history of our service," Aldridge said. "January was our next highest. We were at 96,000. But before that, I think it was somewhere around 80,000 rides.

The jump in numbers likely has a lot to do with the new “zero-fare” instituted with assistance from the city of Missoula, the University of Montana, and other partners who chip in a combined total of over $400,000 per year. Aldridge said there are other changes helping to increase ridership too.

"I think a number of things with the inclusion of the second 15 minute 'Bolt' route on route two with the late night service that we added in, with the partner-supported zero-fare," Aldridge said. "It was definitely a combination of those things that helped boost our ridership."

One of the zero-fare goals is to increase ridership by 45 percent. Aldridge said that in real numbers, Mountain Line is hoping to increase ridership by 400,000 over the next three years.