By Ron VandenBoom
Bus service will once again return to Havre on Sept. 16, thanks to the efforts of Terry McIntosh, the owner of Havre Taxi.
The bus service will consist of one trip per day from Havre to Great Falls and one return trip per day from Great Falls to Havre. The cost of a one-way ticket will be $22.
The bus will depart Havre at 11 a.m. from the Havre Taxi Depot at 215 Fifth Ave. and depart Great Falls from the airport at 6:45 p.m.
According to McIntosh, the bus will also carry freight between Great Falls and Havre and pick up passengers in Box Elder, Big Sandy, and Fort Benton, only if notice is given the day prior to the trip. No scheduled stops will be made in the three communities.
The cost to Great Falls from Box Elder will be $19 with the cost from Big Sandy and Fort Benton being $17 and $9, respectively. The price structure is reversed on the trip from Great Falls to Havre, with Fort Benton to Havre costing $19 and Box Elder to Havre costing $9.
This will be the second attempt by McIntosh to establish a bus link between Havre and Great Falls.
His first attempt began operations in November 1998 and was forced to shut down March 12, 1999, after losing what McIntosh said was about $20,000.
McIntosh said he does not expect to lose money on this attempt to establish a bus line because he has been able to reduce operating expenses and overhead.
Two vans will be used to transport passengers instead of the larger and less fuel-efficient buses McIntosh purchased for use the first time. He also believes not stopping in Box Elder, Big Sandy, and Fort Benton will also save time and money.
McIntosh has also reduced the number of trips from two each way per day to one each way per day increasing the number of passengers and freight per trip.
Money will also be saved by not having a separate building to use for a bus depot. Rent and utilities will not be a factor as long as the bus and Havre Taxi share space at the Fifth Avenue location.
Another change McIntosh believes will make a difference are changes in Great Falls City Bus routes that now run to the Great Falls Airport.
This will allow passengers we drop off to have a way downtown and will also provide a way for our passengers to get from downtown back to the airport when they are ready to come home, McIntosh said. In the past they had to find their own way back to the airport.
McIntosh said he is convinced that changes in the way he has organized the business will guarantee that he will not lose money. In fact, he hopes that the demand for, and the success of the service, will ultimately force him to once again use the larger buses he now only uses for special charters.
Ive gotten more calls since we had to close the business then I ever had while it was running, McIntosh said. Im excited and I just hope the community responds to it.
For more information on the new bus service, or to get information on freight charges, call the bus depot at 265-5287 or call Havre Taxi at 265-1287.