Co-op bus service wraps third summer in Yellowstone

A co-operatively owned summer bus service that moves riders through Yellowstone and Grand Teton National parks and their gateway communities will wrap up its third year on Monday, September 30.

The Linx service connects the Wyoming gateway towns of Jackson and Cody with the Montana gateway towns of Gardiner and West Yellowstone. The Linx bus line connecting the Wyoming towns of Riverton, Dubois and Jackson will end on Sunday, September 29, according to a statement released by Linx Interim Manager Jan Brown.

Linx has been operating its Yellowstone Gateway Connections service since June 4 with the support of an intercity bus grant from the Wyoming Department of Transportation.  Additional funding partners from Wyoming have included the Town of Jackson, Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce, Cody Country Chamber of Commerce, Wind River Hotel and Casino and Wind River Transportation Authority.

“We’ve appreciated the generous support of our gateway partners in contributing to this 120-day pilot demonstration,” said Linx Sales Manager Collette Rinehart.

Rinehart said the system transported nearly 3,000 riders both inside and outside the park this year, with hikers, cyclists, concession employees and international guests as its primary customers.

“We already are getting inquiries about our 2014 schedule,” she said.

Riders this year paid between $25-50 to ride one-way between gateway cities, and riders inside Yellowstone National Park paid $25 for an all-day pass.  The two largest park concessioners—Xanterra Parks and Resorts and Delaware North Companies—secured large numbers of Linx day passes to help their off-duty employees enjoy a variety of park destinations and shop in gateway communities.

Brown said the three-year pilot program has proven that it is possible to run a public transportation system in Yellowstone and beyond, “even with bison jams, spotty cell service, and delays due to fires, weather and auto accidents.”

The five companies that operated the six bus routes were Salt Lake Express, Karst Stage, LP Transportation, Xanterra Parks and Resorts and Wind River Transportation Authority.

“This fall we will share our rider statistics with all those interested in Yellowstone Park operations and discuss how the Linx bus system can improve regional mobility while reducing auto emissions and congestion,” Brown said. “Our co-op business model is designed so both public and private entities can more effectively finance, promote and operate public transit across three states and two national parks—and it is starting to work.”

Linx is a locally-owned member cooperative of transportation providers and investors that is operating a regional transportation network to serve the greater Yellowstone region. Linx is coordinating the stops and schedules of its member-providers and making this information available to the general public on one online platform at . The toll-free Linx Help Line is 1-877-454-5469.

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