Transit officials from Missoula, Mont., are driving down the same road Kansas University and the City of Lawrence did just a few years ago.
Transit managers from Missoula and the University of Montana visited Lawrence Thursday to learn more about the city’s joint university-city public transit program.
“There’s always been this movement in this community to get more out of the transit service than we have been,” said Robert Nugent, Lawrence's public transit administrator. “In 2009 we restructured routes so it didn’t benefit a student or a city person, but the community.”
Michael Tree, the general manager of Missoula Urban Transportation District, and Nancy Wilson, who works on transit issues with the University of Montana, are trying to find ways to combine the university and city's transportation systems the way KU and the City of Lawrence did in 2009.
“(Lawrence) is reputable in the U.S. for working seamlessly so we wanted to look at what they were doing in regard to operations,” Tree said.
Nugent and Danny Kaiser, KU parking and transit assistant director, helped steer the Missoula officials in the right direction by giving tips on how to combine specific operations like calling centers, a website and a lost and found.
Tree said that although he and Wilson may visit other cities with similar systems, Lawrence Public Transit’s model gave them an idea of what they’ll need to accomplish in order to integrate successfully.
“I think we learned enough off of our trip to Lawrence that it’s going to keep us busy a while,” Tree said.