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SPOT connects communities with free public transit

by DONNA GRIFFIN / Selkirks-Pend Oreille Transit
| April 25, 2024 1:00 AM

Selkirks-Pend Oreille Transit Authority (SPOT bus) provides public transit in the two most northern counties in Idaho – Bonner County and Boundary County. Let SPOT Bus do the driving with safe, reliable, free transportation. 

SPOT bus provides free public transit services and routes in our service areas that enhance access to health care, shopping, education, employment, public services, restaurants, the movie theatre, visiting friends or family, and recreation. Where’s your next adventure? All your activities are just a short bus ride away! 

SPOT bus operates seven days a week, 12 hours each day in Bonner County and four days per week, 7 hours each day in Boundary County. SPOT Bus service areas include Dover, Kootenai, Ponderay and Sandpoint as well as Boundary County, Bonners Ferry and Moyie Springs. Please visit our website to see our service areas, the live mapping app (which shows the locations of our Blue and Green Route buses), bus stop schedules, routes, and other information.  

SPOT operates under a joint powers agreement of six local government authorities which include Boundary County, and the cities of Bonners Ferry, Dover, Kootenai, Ponderay and Sandpoint. In addition, for community safety, SPOT has an agreement in place with Bonner County to provide service in times of emergencies. SPOT’s early achievements are a testament to the effectiveness of our collaborative approach. SPOT successes and lessons learned offer a valuable statewide model for other transit systems in Idaho, demonstrating the power of partnerships in addressing critical community needs.

In 2011, the cities of Dover, Sandpoint, Ponderay and Kootenai launched a public transportation system offering fixed route service connecting each of the four cities. The City of Dover assumed the role of operator for the community transit system, using Federal Transit Administration funding with matching funds provided by the cities of Ponderay and Sandpoint.

In 2015, SPOT was encouraged to initiate demand-response service to serve a critical transportation need in Boundary County. Boundary County, Bonners Ferry (and most recently, the City Moyie Springs) along with SPOT Bus currently provide demand response service within Boundary County, with a weekly inter-city connection between Bonners Ferry, Ponderay and Sandpoint on Thursdays. SPOT Bus provides local Boundary County Service on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. On Friday afternoons, SPOT Bus transports riders between Moyie Springs and Bonners Ferry. 

The Selkirks-Pend Oreille Transit (SPOT) system was an immediate success. SPOT Bus surpassed one million rides in February 2023. Ridership has grown steadily, with a decline during COVID. But SPOT’s ridership numbers recovered. In 2022 SPOT provided 136,253 rides. In 2023 SPOT Bus provided 151,865 rides filling a crucial role in safe, reliable transportation services. With area growth, SPOT Bus receives requests to expand existing services. 

Our role is to provide free safe, reliable, ADA compliant transit service in North Idaho that takes people where they want and need to go. SPOT is the sole source of transportation for many riders, providing daily access to employment, doctors, services, and recreation. Our service hours cater to many who need prompt access to their appointments. In some places we serve, there is limited or no parking and traffic congestion as a result. The general population benefits because of expedited ingress and egress from events and venues, improved efficiency, and improved mobility.

Riding the SPOT Bus is easy and efficient. The service is free to everyone, but you must be at least 6 years old to ride alone. 

In Bonner County our Blue and Green routes operate seven days a week (except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter), from 6:25 a.m. to 6:27 p.m. They pick up and drop off at 44 key locations (81 scheduled stops) every hour. The routes include stops in Dover, Kootenai, Ponderay and Sandpoint.

If you cannot access the Blue or Green (fixed) routes and need a ride, you may qualify for our Paratransit Service. SPOT Bus Paratransit service provides curb to curb service for those who cannot access or use our fixed route service. Please visit our website (www.spotbus.org) for qualification information and to download the application; or call the office at 208-263-3774.  SPOT Bus also provides demand (curb-to-curb) service Tuesday through Friday in Boundary County or to Bonner County on Thursday. 

To take advantage of the Boundary demand service, call 208-263-3774. We request that you book your ride at least 24 hours in advance. Since seats fill up fast, we recommend that you reserve your seat as soon as you decide where and when you want to go (up to three weeks ahead of time). 

Please visit the SPOT website  (www.spotbus.org) which provides information and shows our service areas. Or call the office at 208-263-3774 for more information.