(Crookston, Minn.)- The Tri-Valley Heartland Express (T.H.E.) Bus has served students at Northland Community & Technical College (NCTC) and the University of Minnesota, Crookston (UMC) over the last two years. Since the inception of the program, ridership has continued to grow on each campus and has been utilized by thousands of students who have limited access to reliable transportation.
T.H.E. Bus started serving NCTC in 2010. During the first year, 2,095 NCTC students used the service. In 2011, 3,200 students rode T.H.E. Bus to and from class and to get to other businesses throughout Thief Rivers Falls; an increase in ridership of 153%. In just the first three months of 2012, 1,256 students utilized the service.
“T.H.E. Bus service allowed students on the Thief River Falls campus to take part in East Grand Forks campus classes and vice versa,” says Steve Crittenden, Dean of Student Development on the NCTC campus. “It removed the barrier of driving 100 miles every day and enabled students who may not have been able to attend classes the opportunity to receive an education at Northland Community & Technical College,” Crittenden adds.
Service to UMC began in the fall of 2011 as enrollment at the college continued to grow and a needed partnership became apparent. In the fall of 2011, 2,810 UMC students rode T.H.E. Bus to and from campus and to other businesses throughout Crookston. In just three months into the 2012 campaign, the service exploded by 257% to 7,226 riders utilizing the services offered by Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc.