West Yellowstone to Bozeman and Back

Interview with Mary Vaessen, West Yellowstone Foundation, 406-640-2030

Feb 20, 2009

Bus runs from West Yellowstone to Bozeman two days per week, Tu and Th.

Leaves WY at 8:00 a.m. returns to West Yellowstone at 4:00 p.m.

(This requires the driver to wait around Bozeman the full day or ferry riders to different locations in Bozeman. How does he adjudicate who gets to go to their desired location first and whose convenience is most honored?)

She works for the West Yellowstone Foundation.

She didn’t know what the tax funding sources were.

She files reports to the Montana Department of Transportation, Adam.

She didn’t know what the costs were.

My estimate of costs:

250 miles. $3.25 per mile. $812.50 per round trip.

Riders, usually 14, pay $10.00 round trip or $140.

There is no means test; rich and poor riders pay the same, though

Mary said most were low-income.

For riders to pay the full cost, they would have to pay $58.04 each,

round trip.

Taxpayers pay $672.50 per round trip.

Two round trips per week, 104 per year.

Taxpayers pay $69,940 per year.

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One Response

  1. Good topic. My mind goes immediately to how could this be turned into a profit making private business. To my way of thinking a “profit making private business” is not an evil endeavor, but can serve all consumers which is a good thing. I’m thinking that there might be a number of people in Bozeman who would venture to West Yellowstone to go cross country skiing in the winter and hike in the summer. Even with the current two day schedule, they could leave Bz on Tuesday at 4pm spend two nights in West, which would be a help to WY’s economy and support jobs there, then return Thurs am to Bz. Just trying to think out of the box on this. It seems the current intention (my assumption) is that the bus now is designed to assist WY citizens in getting to BZ and not vice versa. I don’t see this as a bad thing in itself, just seems we could do better by swimming with the current of a free market.
    Maybe the social planners are indeed doing a good thing here, I’m just questioning it and wondering if there is a better way. Hopefully, questioning government programs has not become unpatriotic, though I’m afraid in the present climate it has.

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