MATBUS is announcing the official launch of LinkFM, its recently implemented fun, fast and free downtown circulator route connecting the communities of Fargo and Moorhead.
LinkFM is the result of considerable research into the best practices and marketing efforts of downtown circulator routes nationwide (in cities such as Dallas, Baltimore, Atlanta and Cincinnati), in addition to the development of partnerships with several local businesses and organizations.
The route was implemented on June 1 as part of a planned “soft start.” Since that time, the number of weekly passengers has increased steadily. With branding now in place, extensive outreach and advertising will be undertaken to further grow ridership.
LinkFM operates from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday. The route features a continuous loop with ten designated bus stops, starting and ending at the Moorhead Center Mall. LinkFM arrives every 12-15 minutes at each stop along its route and is within walking distance of numerous popular destinations. LinkFM is a fare-free route, and transfers are allowed onto other MATBUS routes. For more information or to view the route map, visit www.GoLinkFM.com.
A concept for a circulator route has been featured for several years in the Cities’ transit and parking plans as a strategy to make better use of thousands of existing public and private parking spaces. Also noted was the significance of a circulator in the revitalization of the downtowns, reduction of congestion and the continuing increase of ridership on MATBUS.
“Our downtowns and city cores are regenerating and the metro’s transportation culture is evolving; more people are walking, biking and now nearly 2.3 million annual riders utilize MATBUS. It’s a pleasure working with our Moorhead neighbors and the excellent MATBUS team creating this fun, fast and free route that will help reduce congestion, maximize parking and enable folks to park once, walk, bike or jump on LinkFM to enjoy all that both downtowns have to offer. It’s going to be so easy to find LinkFM; you’ll see it coming, hear it coming and want to jump aboard,” said Fargo City Commissioner Mike Williams.
By connecting communities, LinkFM is the perfect partner to help residents and visitors enjoy the downtowns’ eclectic shopping, arts, dining, and entertainment destinations, while eliminating parking concerns.
“This team created a brand that brought two communities even closer together. Working alongside incredibly talented people, I felt honored to be a part of it. I hope this is just the beginning of a stronger relationship with the Fargo downtown team. Our metro community has so much potential! Great things happen when people work together,” remarked Moorhead Center Mall Manager Melissa Rademacher.
To differentiate it from other MATBUS routes, LinkFM has distinctive branding highlighted by a stand-alone logo and accompanying vibrant color scheme. The brand is utilized on a dedicated full bus wrap, unique bus stop signs and a website. Additionally, local talent will be encouraged to submit both visual and audio works of art to feature on the LinkFM bus. The visual art will be displayed on the interior ceiling panels of the bus, while the audio art will be showcased via the bus’ interior/exterior sound system. Interested artists can contact MATBUS at 701.241.8140 or email@example.com.
As a fun addition for riders, LinkFM features the following genres of music each week:
- Monday — Pop (Top 40)
- Tuesday — Rock & Alternative
- Wednesday — Country
- Thursday — Throwback Thursday (’80s, ’90s & ’00s)
- Friday — Local Artists
- Saturday — Shuffle
Several local vendors were utilized to make LinkFM possible, including the following:
- Ian Dougan of Kandor Design, LLC of Fargo – LinkFM logo design
- Bill Kensok of Custom Graphics, Inc. of Fargo – bus wrap design
- Custom Graphics, Inc. of Fargo – production/installation of the bus wrap, in addition to the large banner on the MATBUS Center Downtown (GTC).
- Dakota Fence’s 3D Specialties of Fargo – printing of bus stop signs.
- Site on Sound – installation of vehicle’s interior and exterior audio system.
To encourage Street Fair attendees to use LinkFM, a second bus will be added to the route during the three-day event. This will slash any potential wait times in half, as a bus will be traveling by each stop twice as often (on average, a bus arriving every seven minutes).
To promote the larger MATBUS system, fares will be reduced to $1 for adults and $0.50 for elderly, disabled and youth on fixed routes for Thursday (July 16) and Friday (July 17). On Saturday (July 18), a Fare-Free Day will be offered on all fixed routes.