Current Transportation Solutions produced a five year transit development plan based on the intercity travel needs of residents and visitors to Montana. The planning process focused on an in-depth assessment of Rimrock Stages’ market, goals, and financial targets. The project included statewide stakeholder input, analysis of existing services, a demographics analysis, suggested service modifications, business practice modifications, an assessment of coordination opportunities, and a business plan. Stakeholder input included workshops in Montana’s largest communities.
As a result of this project, Rimrock was poised to take action when Greyhound decided to stop operating its Missoula-Billings routes. Rimrock Stages took over these routes and the owners worked with Current Transportation Solutions to design a service reconfiguration that successfully shortened travel times by 45 minutes to all Montana’s major cities except Butte (beginning June 21, 2011). These changes also increased Rimrock’s profitability.
Through this project, Rimrock also identified opportunities to better promote its services through the Associated Students of the University of Montana, Missoula’s Mountain Line, and other Montana transit operators as well as organizations that need transportation.
The project scope did not include an assessment of safety issues that subsequently resulted in serious problems for the company. In March 2013, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) inspectors shut down the Rimrock Stages bus fleet. With passengers facing detours of over 600 miles and bus companies in neighboring states facing financial losses, multiple parties scrambled to restore Montana’s intercity bus service. Current Transportation Solutions volunteered to step in to help coordinate and expedite the process. With our detailed knowledge of intercity bus service in Montana we acted as a central point of contact and facilitator for the parties involved. As a result, in less than a month service was restored to all Montana’s major cities except Kalispell, with Jefferson Lines and Salt Lake Express taking over most of Rimrock’s routes. At Rimrock’s request, Current Transportation provided Jefferson Lines and Salt Lake Express with a list of Rimrock’s bus drivers so that the new operators could choose to hire experienced Montana drivers who know the routes. Current Transportation Solutions also created a temporary website with updates and information about the situation: http://mtndintercity.wordpress.com/