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By Micah Drew
Pathfinder 

Seeley Lake Vanpool Looks to Expand, Name Vehicles

 


SEELEY LAKE - The Seeley Lake Community Foundation is looking to add a little character to its vanpool fleet. The SLCF is holding a naming contest through the end of the month.

The fleet currently has two six-passenger vans—one is wheelchair accessible—and on June 30, each will have its own identity. The van names will be painted on the sides of the vehicles and they will be driven in the Fourth of July Parade. The contest is open to anyone. The winning name for each van will win a free ticket to the Bob Marshall Music Festival.

A little more than three months ago, the SLCF launched the “I Ride Seeley Lake” shuttle service. The vanpool gives rides around Seeley Lake and to Missoula for medical, physical therapy and chiropractor appointments as well as pharmacy pickups.

“I think the program is amazing,” said Seeley Lake’s Wendy Green, a weekly user of I Ride. “They’re giving people who couldn’t otherwise get around town a chance to get to the doctor and pharmacy.”

Green has been using the shuttle at least once a week for about two months. She has been promoting the service since she started using it—recommending it to friends and handing out flyers all over town.

Green hopes that in the future the service will expand to help with transportation to the post office and grocery store but for now she can’t say enough about the helpfulness of the shuttle—and the friendliness of the drivers.

“[It’s] something amazing for our community to be embracing,” she said.

The SLCF is currently working on expanding the service to Condon. The vans and drivers will still be based out of Seeley Lake but riders will be able to travel the entire length of the Seeley-Swan Valley as well as to Missoula. SLCF Executive Director Anne Beach said she hopes the expansion will be launched by July 1.

Jodi Chritton, the SLCF’s I Ride coordinator, said that the only complaint they’ve received was one day when one of the van heaters wasn’t working properly.

“We’ve got great drivers and everyone’s been so appreciative,” she said.

The service currently has nine regular riders and six committed volunteer drivers. It runs door-to-door service Monday-Thursday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The cost is a dollar for a one-way ride around town and five dollars each way to Missoula. Ten-dollar punch cards are also available.

A three-way partnership between SLCF, the Seeley-Swan Medical Center and Missoula Ravalli Transportation Management Association launched I Ride in Seeley Lake. Through the Change Your Pace Challenge, a donor gave $5,00 to specifically fund the program.

“It’s been great,” said Chritton, who hopes the program will continue to grow. “More people need to know about this program. There is a need for this service in Seeley Lake.”

To make a shuttle appointment, call 406-880-3685.

Naming Contest Submissions can be sent to jchritton@slcfmt.org.

Jodi Chritton, the Foundation’s I Ride coordinator, said that they plan to paint the names on the side of each van and drive them in the Fourth of July Parade.

 

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