Supporting Multi-Modal Sexual Abuse With Missoula’s Free Bus Service

by Travis Mateer

There is a young girl in Missoula who will probably be VERY hesitant to ride a Mountain Line bus ever again after the creep pictured below allegedly exposed himself to her last week. Now Jack Mellem is facing several felony charges, as you can see from his booking information.

The hypothetical question I have after reading the article about Mellem’s alleged sex crime is whether or not he would have been riding the bus in the first place if it meant spending some of his own money on the service. Here is how Mountain Line promotes their “Zero-Fare” service at their website. From the link:

Sounds great, right? Well, since our city leaders have a pathological need to downplay the reality of an increasing number of drug-addicted, mentally unstable people roaming around, the 1.5 MILLION RIDES number feels like a data-point smokescreen being deployed to hide any possible negative side-effects of Zero-Fare from emerging, because that might lead to questions from the public that our city leaders don’t want to answer.

I was still working at the homeless shelter in 2015 when the bus service became free, so I have a pretty unique perspective on how that shift impacted MY ability to work with people on the streets. One of the few things of value I had to incentivize goal-oriented behavior from the clientele I was trying to help were the free “day passes” that could be used for one whole day.

Since riding the bus used to cost actual money, these passes not only had monetary value, they also had leverage value, because they were dispersed by my program based on criteria that increased the chances that the service would be used by clients appropriately and constructively. I even had some difficult conversations about body odor because, believe me, that can be a SERIOUS deterrent to the non-sanitation-challenged individuals who want, or need, to use the bus service.

Maybe the reason MORE riders are desired is because it gets Mountain Line more grant money. That seems to be at least one result of increasing the number of people using the bus system, according to this article from 2019. From the link (emphasis mine):

Thanks to receiving two highly competitive federal grants, the Mountain Line bus service will soon be adding six new electric buses to its fleet,

Community Outreach Coordinator for Mountain Bill Pfeiffer said the new buses will be arriving this summer.

“We were able to get the grants thanks to the large increase in ridership we received thanks to the Zero Fare program,” said Pfeiffer. “We’re just really excited to be helping to improve Missoula’s air quality as we know that can be an issue in Missoula.

New electric buses means cleaner air, and more buses means less cars. So what if a tween has to endure a pervert showing her his junk every now and then, the price of saving of the planet is clearly worth it.

That’s sarcasm, by the way.

If you appreciate my multi-modal criticism, then consider making a financial donation at my about page.

Thanks for reading!

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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3 Responses to Supporting Multi-Modal Sexual Abuse With Missoula’s Free Bus Service

  1. Willy B says:

    I’m outraged at free bus service. They cause thousands more sexual assaults than churches, and EVEN drag shows. If only we could be a good Christian nation and charge for bus service, that would prevent all of the bus enabled sexual assault cases and own all those marxist libs. In this society, we need to limit sexual assault to private vehicles or pay services such as Uber and Lyft. Please, think of the children!

    Free bus service basically grooms Missoulians to expose and assault the children!

    Travis, you said it best:
    That’s sarcasm, by the way.

  2. John Kevin Hunt says:

    I think it’s not rational to condemn a zero fare low-pollution bus policy on the basis that one person was subjected to the unprecedented horror in all of human history, of someone showing his junk. Yes, it’s highly disturbing, but how often does that occur? Ending zero fare because of the mere possibility that a person could expose their genitals is not reasonable. A person could expose themself whether they paid a fare, or not. The most that could be posited in support of your position, on those grounds, is that zero fare means more passengers, meaning in particular more poverty passengers, a number of whom are houseless; from there (as the evil complained of becomes increasingly remote during this reasoning process), the argument would be that more houseless persons on buses means more mentally ill people on buses because of the higher orwvalence of mental illness aming hoyseless persons. Next, you have to consider the incidence of exhibitionist paraphelia and its prevalence amomg mentally ill and houseless persons. I think the probability of this occurring on a public bus are far lower than the probability of it happening elsewhere, because typically, persons who engage in this are introverted and shy, and ususlly run like Hell after showing their junk.

    Maybe we need to drastically jack up airline ticket prices, because if they are too affordable, there’s a greater chance of a 9/11, or just a hijacking to Cuba occurring.. Make sense? Nope!

    I think a MUCH BETTER idea is to pack the state Capitol with hundreds of people for a couple of days, organizing charter buses if need be, lobbying their legislators to take a big chunk of the state’s billion dollar surplus (a product of regressive state income and property tax laws). As of yesterday, the Repugs were dug in, refusing to fund what’s needed just to make Warm Springs capable of evaluating pretrial detainees for ability to aid and assist their defense (“competency to stand trial”). A few days ago, the MT Supreme Court reversed a conviction and set a prisoner free for a speedy trial violation, in a case in which due to our state’s utterly decrepit mental health “system,” the defendant waited mote than THREE YEARS to be evaluated for competency to stand trial. There are very real and potentially dangerous-to-public consequences of this inexcusable hording of tax “surplus,” “rebating it to taxpayers” (a ruse, because the GOP has ruled out any rwbates to renters, who pay a portion of their landlords’ property taxes).

  3. February 11th, reported by KGVO. This guy was just going around beating people for no reason, including punching a woman in the face. For this post I find this part revenant:

    Missoula Police records indicate that Mountainsheep has been trespassed from the Mountain Line Transfer Center and all its property since December of 2022. Since then, Mountainsheep has been back to the transfer center at least five times. When Mountainsheep has returned to the transfer center he has been cited for criminal trespass to property.

    Read More: Man Punches Woman in the Face at the Transfer Station in Missoula |

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