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Mountain Line and NAU Enhance Transportation Resources


FLAGSTAFF, AZ (August 24, 2017) – As students prepare to begin the semester at Northern Arizona University (NAU), Mountain Line and NAU are rolling out transportation upgrades designed to meet the growing demand, and reduce congestion throughout and around campus.

When students descend upon campus in late August, Mountain Line will roll out five new 60-foot, hybrid-electric articulated buses, in addition to the one articulated bus added to the fleet in 2014. Since its launch in August 2011, Mountain Link (Mountain Line’s Route 10) has experienced significant year-over-year ridership increases. The route, which connects the Woodlands Village area and downtown Flagstaff via the NAU campus, provided more than 773,000 rides in Fiscal Year 2017, an increase of more than 100,000 rides since the first year of service.

The articulated buses allow Mountain Line to move twice as many riders (as compared to a standard bus) with only one driver, creating operational efficiencies and increased capacity on an already busy route. The new buses were purchased with 80 percent federal grant funding and will serve as a sustainable transportation option for NAU students in the years to come.

“As the NAU student population increases, so does the need for a comprehensive, multi-modal transportation system that will keep cars off the road,” said Flagstaff City Councilmember and NAIPTA Board Chair Scott Overton. “Mountain Line has aggressively pursued grant funding to purchase the necessary fleet to complement NAU’s shuttle system and offer students and staff a viable alternative to the single passenger car.”

NAU’s has also made several changes to the campus shuttle system to ensure it moves as quickly and efficiently as possible. The addition of two low-floor model buses allows for faster boarding and alighting, leading to improved travel times and better service for those in wheelchairs. From a routing perspective, the campus shuttle will now run along San Francisco St. and will discontinue the use of the Skydome as a bus holding station, expediting travel time and allowing buses to circulate campus more steadily. In addition, NAU will soon test technology intended to keep buses more evenly spaced around campus.

“We are fortunate to have a transportation partnership with NAIPTA,” said NAU President Dr. Rita Cheng. “Together we are focused on enhancing transit options to benefit NAU and the community. We continuously look for ways to improve our transportation options and we work with NAIPTA to ensure we offer a seamless and efficient transportation system.”

NAIPTA is the transit agency in northern Arizona operating the Mountain Line, Mountain Lift and Mountain Link systems in Flagstaff.  NAIPTA also coordinates services with Campus Shuttle Service at Northern Arizona University.

Northern Arizona University is a high-research university with a statewide enrollment of 30,000 students. More than 20,000 students attend the Flagstaff campus, with more than 8,000 students enrolled online and at Extended Campus sites statewide. Research in genetics, forestry and ecology has drawn international recognition to the university, which also is highly regarded for its education, business and engineering programs. NAU represents 127 tribal nations and is on its way to becoming the nation’s leading university serving Native American/Alaskan and Hawaiian Native cultures. NAU launched competency-based Personalized Learning in 2013, the first self-paced, online education program that cuts the cost and time to an undergraduate degree. For more information, visit nau.edu. Follow NAU on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.