Are Sexual Deviants Helping Mountain Line Get A New Home For Public Buses?

by Travis Mateer

I admit, the question seems absurd. How could sexual deviants be helping Mountain Line get a new home for public buses? After listening to two former bus drivers for Mountain Line talk about their experience last week at the weekly Let’s Improve Reserve Street Facebook group, the importance of counting warm bodies for federal funding is coming into focus for me. Let me explain.

First, I’d like to express my appreciation to the two drivers who came forward to describe what it’s like providing FREE bus rides in Missoula. The shift to “zero-fare” happened 7 years ago, and it was a critical step to getting that sweet federal loot. Here’s the framing from the Mountain Line website (emphasis mine):

Since this shift happened at the tail-end of my time working at the homeless shelter, I saw how this played out, especially as it related to the Homeless Outreach Program I coordinated. When the bus cost a little money, the bus passes my program purchased were great tools to incentivize better choices among the shelter-resistant population I was working with. When bus rides became free, that tool disappeared, as did the informal filter I provided by NOT simply handing out bus passes to anyone for any reason.

I didn’t realize the goal at the time was acquiring more funding at any cost, and if customer/driver experiences suffered from blowing up the numbers, oh well.

After zero-fare was established, the Mountain Line agenda became more clear, as did the indifference from its leadership. I’ve written a handful of articles about this transformation over the years. Here are a few:

Hostile Architecture In Missoula And The Deafening Silence Of Local Media (January 8th, 2019)

Mountain Line Mea Culpa Isn’t Enough, Bring Back The Benches (January 15th, 2019)

A Customer Complaint Against Mountain Line And Revisiting The Controversial “Leaning Benches” Installed In 2019 Because Homeless People (March 27th, 2021)

More Context On Tuesday’s Pedestrian Fatality And What Might Be Driving A Statistical Spike In Pedestrian/Vehicle Fatalities Since Covid (March 3rd, 2022)

Supporting Multi-Modal Sexual Abuse With Missoula’s Free Bus Service (February 15th, 2023)

The expansion of Mountain Line is being directed by Corey Aldridge, a handsomely paid “CEO” (he changed his title) who is now positioning his publicly-enabled “company” to build a new “home” for buses. Why? Because this humble outpost is no longer adequate:

No, they need something more like this:

From the link (emphasis mine):

Leaders of Missoula’s Mountain Line transit system are celebrating today after news that the agency has been awarded one of the largest upgrades ever since buses first started to roll over 45 years ago.

Word came from U.S. Senator Jon Tester’s office Wednesday that Mountain Line is getting more than $39 million to pay for the construction of a new Maintenance and Operation Base for the Missoula Urban Transportation District.

The money comes from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Isn’t this great? A Senator up for a VERY tough reelection is bringing home some bus-bacon for Mr. Bus CEO. Let’s celebrate! And let’s ALSO remember that when making a new bus-home-omelet, sometimes you have to break a few 12 year old eggs by exposing them to masturbating perverts. It’s just part of the cost of doing business, right Corey?

Who cares if your bus drivers are working 6 days a week amidst unsafe conditions with a 50% turnover rate year to year while drug addicts get fucked up and ride the bus all day? If someone is losing their shit on the bus, just pull over and wait for a supervisor, or that “resource officer” supposedly dedicated to bus issues, at a cost of $50,000 dollars, but is never seen by Mountain Line employees. Doesn’t this sound like a great job?

Other highlights from the public conversation include unsafe pickups being encouraged until someone died and the policy got changed, unsafe people who were previously revoked from using the bus service being allowed back on, and other incidents of violence and sexually inappropriate behavior which gets suppressed and doesn’t make the news.

Is growth at any cost actually good for our community? We don’t get to have that conversation if we don’t know the extent of what is happening in our community, and with CEO Corey Aldridge in the figurative driver’s seat, it sounds like those sitting in ACTUAL driver/passenger seats are suffering the consequences.

It’s a good thing people like CEO Corey Aldridge are insulated from reality with our public dollars, because reality is getting more fucked up out there by the day.

If you appreciate the reality I am reporting on six days a week, Travis’ Impact Fund (TIF) is one way to support my work, and the donation button at my about page is another.

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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