A new free bus service for Laramie residents, students and tourists will begin on Monday, Aug. 29 according to the recently formed Albany County Transportation Authority (ACTA). A “Gem City Grand” route kick-off celebration is scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday, Aug. 29 at the First Street Plaza.

The “Gem City Grand” route will run buses from 7 a.m.-10 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. on weekends. It will have 12 anticipated spots between Wal-Mart and downtown Laramie. Complete route information is available at www.actabus.org. Bus stop signs are currently being installed by the City of Laramie.

“We are excited to begin this new pilot route under the ACTA’s authority as it will provide enhanced public transportation for students and Laramie citizens. This pilot route will also allow us to gauge the long-term interest in public transportation within the Laramie community.”

-Albany County Commissioner Tim Chesnut

The pilot route is budgeted to run for one calendar year. It’s funded by a federal grant administered by the Wyoming Department of Transportation, Albany County, Albany County Tourism, City of Laramie, Downtown Laramie Business Association/Main Street Alliance, Eppson Center for Seniors, Laramie County Community College and the University of Wyoming.

University of Wyoming’s Transit and Parking Services and the Eppson Center will operate the route. Students and staff at WyoTech refurbished Eppson Center buses for the “Gem City Grand” route by stripping current signage and applying new ACTA decals.

The ACTA was formally created July 5 following a year-long planning effort by UW and Eppson Center officials.