An official launch event for Mountain Link, a new high frequency bus service which will link Downtown Flagstaff, NAU and Woodlands Village, took place Aug. 18. Representatives from NAIPTA, Northern Arizona University, the city of Flagstaff and the Federal Transportation Administration all spoke about the new service, which begins August 29.

Mountain Link will offer a faster, easier way to travel between downtown Flagstaff, the campus and the Woodlands Village residential and commercial areas. The buses will operate on a dedicated transit/bike/pedestrian spine through the heart of the campus, providing direct access to key NAU destinations. Mountain Link directly addresses many of the congestion and transportation issues that are key components of NAU's master plan. In addition, Mountain Link is expected to alleviate parking issues, both on the NAU campus and in downtown Flagstaff.

Mountain Link buses will run every 10 to 15 minutes, 14 hours per day on weekdays, and also will provide weekend service. The basic fare will be $1.25, the same as all Mountain Line routes. Mountain Link will be free for NAU students, staff and faculty with their University IDs.

According to NAU President John Haeger, "This project demonstrates the commitment of Northern Arizona University to be a strong community partner while deepening our shared commitment to sustainability and efficiency."

During the launch event, Mountain Link buses were on display and information was provided about service availability as well as the genesis and progression of the project. Those in attendance had the opportunity to ride the buses and tour the new transit/bike/pedestrian spine through the NAU campus.

Mountain Link's hybrid-electric buses incorporate real time arrival technology, which will allow passengers to know exactly when the next bus will arrive, and many Mountain Link bus stops will be equipped with high definition monitors with a real time information display.

Funding for Mountain Link comes from a grant from the Federal Transit Administration known as a Very Small Starts Grant. NAIPTA was the first transit system in Arizona to receive this type of grant.

Flagstaff City Councilor and NAIPTA board member, Al White, said, "I am very proud of our partnership with Northern Arizona University and this is another outstanding example of working together to move the community forward in providing voter approved service improvement for all. Mountain Link represents the next level of public transportation in Flagstaff's core and will provide a taste of even better things to come."

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