Transportation and Housing
Most likely your hosting unit has arranged housing for you and will provide details of your housing arrangements prior to your arrival. Your hosting unit or ISS can assist you in arranging for a telephone and other services for your housing. The ASUM Off-Campus-Renter-Center can help you find housing off campus and has guides to living in the U.S.
Many people in Missoula enjoy riding bicycles as a means of transportation, especially when the weather is mild. Missoula has many good bike trails and a number of bike lanes which allow for safe riding with traffic. Bicycles can be purchased at various places in town, and the price varies depending on the type of bicycle. Wearing a helmet is highly recommended. Bicycles must follow same traffic rules as automobiles and you must get off your bike if using a pedestrian cross-walk.
Some of the bike shops in Missoula:
The University of Montana offers many programs to support cyclists.
- The Office of Transportation's Yellow UBike Checkout Program provides free bicycle checkouts for up to 48 hours.
- Our Semester Bike Rental Program is ideal for students who want a bike for the entire semester.
- Bike workshop located in the Outdoor Program. There are also bike fix-it stations and air pumps located around campus (see locations).
- Secure bike parking over Thanksgiving, Winter, or Spring Breaks.
- FREE bike lights available in the ASUM Tranportation Office, UC 105.
- At-cost U-locks sold by the Office of Public Safety for just $20.
- Visit Office of Transportation website for more information.
Free city buses operated by Mountain Line serve the greater Missoula area from Monday through Saturday. Go to: http://mountainline.com/ and download an app that helps you track your bus.
ASUM Transportation also offers a bus service (UDash) that runs in the evenings, after the Mountain Line service has stopped. The UDash follows a route around the University, to Lewis and Clark Village, and downtown.
Taxicabs are available upon request. You need to call the company and arrange the pick-up and must pay in cash when you get off. Checks, debit cards, or credit cards are not accepted. It is customary that a passenger pays about 15% of the fare for a tip.
- Airport Shuttler: 406-543-9416 (airport transportation only)
- Yellow Cab Inc.: 406-543-6644
- Green Taxi: 406-728-TAXI (8294)
Several major and local airlines serve the Missoula International Airport at 5225 Hwy 10 W. Missoula, MT 59808. Alaska, Allegiant, Delta, Horizon Air, Northwest Airlines, SkyWest, and United Airlines operate. For more flight information, visit the Missoula International Airport website.
Amtrak serves northern Montana, and is the only available passenger train in the state. The route called “Empire Builder” serves stations in Montana, connecting Chicago, Illinois and Seattle, Washington or Portland, Oregon. For more information, go to https://www.amtrak.com/home.html.
An automobile can be very expensive. The cost of maintenance, insurance, license plates, major repairs and operating costs far exceed the actual cost of the car itself. If you have to purchase a car, be sure to go with someone who knows about automobiles and their standard prices.
- Driver’s License
A valid driver’s license is required to operate an automobile in Montana. In order to obtain State of Montana driver’s license, you must pass a written, a vision and a driving test. To schedule an appointment and learn more about the process go to https://dojmt.gov/driving/.
- International Driver’s License & Foreign Driver’s License
In Montana, an International Driver’s License (or a driver’s license from a foreign country) is only valid for 120 days after your arrival. These licenses are not transferable to a Montana driver’s license; therefore you must apply and take the examinations for a Montana license if you wish to drive after 120 days of your arrival. For more information, call DMV at 406-329-1355.
- Vehicle Registrations and Insurance
To operate an automobile, your motor vehicle must be titled and registered at the county treasurer’s office in the Missoula County Courthouse at 200 West Broadway (406-523-4747). You must pay all taxes and fees at that time. Fees vary based upon the size and age of the vehicle. Once your title process is completed, you will be issued a license plate.
State law requires that all motor vehicles carry adequate liability insurance at all times. You need to purchase the insurance from an insurance company. Different companies offer different rates and coverage, depending on your age, gender, and driving history. Consult the telephone directory’s Yellow Pages under "Insurance" for a list of companies.
Each fall you will have to "winterize" your car by adding sufficient antifreeze to the radiator and window washer in order to prevent freezing and engine damage; replacing motor oil; and installing snow tires. Ask in the International Students and Scholars (ISS) office for a special brochure on safe winter-driving practices.
- Driver’s Responsibility
In Montana, it is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that all passengers use the seatbelts. Also state law requires child safety restraint systems for children under the age of 6 or weighing less than 60 pounds. It means that, if you have such children, a motor vehicle must be equipped with one child safety restraint (i.e. child seat) for each child, in the back seat of the vehicle, and each child must be properly restrained. For further information regarding driving in Montana, read the Montana Drivers Manual.