Some 20 riders took advantage of free around-town bus service in Hailey on Monday, the first day of a new service provided by Mountain Rides Transportation Authority.
"For the first day, we had a good sampling of riders," said Mountain Rides Executive Director Jason Miller. "It ran well, it ran when expected, it was on time."
Miller said relatively low ridership was anticipated for the first day of service, but that he expects it to grow to about 100 riders per day within the next several months.
"I think there's a lot of awareness-building we need to do," Miller said. "What we've found is it's a lot easier to get people interested in using it when it's out and running."
The bus service is available from 7 a.m. to 10:55 a.m. and from 2 p.m. to 6:55 p.m. Monday through Friday. Bus runs start at the Community Campus on Fox Acres Road, run south to Countryside Boulevard and then to the north, ending at the Albertsons grocery store parking lot before making a circuitous return route back to the Community Campus.
Route maps are available at bus stops and local businesses or online at www.mountainrides.org.
Startup funding was through a $167,000 federal grant and city of Hailey matching funds. The service is expected to cost between $135,000 and $150,000 per year.
"Everyone's excited about this," Miller said. "The city's behind this and we're excited to see it grow."
Terry Smith: email@example.com