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Cali Owings, Published March 24 2014

MATBUS to add route through southeast Moorhead

MOORHEAD – MATBUS will add a new route and expand bus service between southeast Moorhead and Dilworth.

By May 1, transit riders will have access to Horizon Middle School, the new Sanford Health Moorhead clinic, Globe University, Menard’s and Sam’s Club via the new Route 9.

Moorhead transit manager Lori Van Beek said there’s a lot of built-up need for the new route – especially for after-school programs at Horizon Middle School and with the opening of Sanford’s 28th Avenue Moorhead clinic next month.

While much of the new route is covered by a Minnesota Department of Transportation grant, the Moorhead City Council voted Monday to add the route and approve $9,400 in funds for the addition.

The total cost for the new route between May 1 and Dec. 31 is $75,000. The state meets 80 percent of that cost, with a 20 percent local match. The city’s $9,400 will come from the mass transit reserve fund, while an estimated $5,600 in fare revenue will offset that match.

The new route will align with Dilworth’s Route 6 at the Wal-Mart off of Highway 10. One bus will complete Route 9 and continue on to Route 6 and return. Both lines will be 30 minutes long and run every hour.

With the addition of Route 9, hours of operation for Route 6 will be extended to full-day service from 6:40 a.m. to 6:10 p.m. weekdays, and 7:40 a.m. to 6:10 p.m. on Saturdays. Route i will start 30 minutes earlier and finish 30 minutes later.

Ridership for the MATBUS was up 10 percent in February over last year, Van Beek said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Cali Owings at (701) 241-5599