During World War II the company grew by serving Fort Carson and more buses were added to the fleet. After the war in 1946 the company was sold again, and the name changed to the Colorado Springs Transit Company. In 1952 fares raised to 15-cents, but the company continued to struggle and started advertising on buses and bus benches in 1959 to help with rising costs. Still, the company was losing money and asked The City of Colorado Springs to buy the bus company in 1961. The mayor set up a transportation committee, but they decided not to purchase the company.
Kennedy did not live to see the bill become law, but President Lyndon Johnson carried Kennedy’s legacy on transit by signing the bill into law in 1964 stating, “We are a nation of travelers. You cannot write our history without devoting many chapters to the pony express, the stagecoach, the railroad, the automobile, the airplane. . . Yet, until 1964, the Federal Government did little or nothing to help the urban commuter.”
The new law changed transit rapidly. In 1966, The City of Pueblo took over their transit and Denver Tramway was purchased by The City of Denver in 1971. The same year the operator of what was then named the Colorado Springs Coach Company, informed city officials that they were losing money and would be discontinuing service and at that point the city sought federal funding to keep transit in Colorado Springs.
During the energy crisis in the 70s, ridership jumped to over a million passengers a year and by 1983, Springs Transit had 2,600,000 riders. More buses were ordered, and fares went up to 60-cents.
Springs Transit added additional services in the 90s, including paratransit in 1993 and vanpool in 1997. In 1992 fares were 75-cents.
In 2004, voters in Colorado Springs and El Paso County approved a 1% sales tax to fund transportation projects and The Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA) was created. PPRTA funding helps pay for capital projects (55%), maintenance (35%), and transit (10%). In 2012, voters again voted to extend PPRTA funding for another 10 years and will be voting on a PPTRA extension again in November 2022.
In 2005 the name was again changed from Springs Transit to Mountain Metropolitan Transit (MMT) or Mountain Metro for short.
After the recession all services, and even more, returned. Over 3-million riders were using MMT in 2018 and 2019, but all that slowed greatly in 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic. Ridership fell below 2 million and bus routes and service were greatly cut once again. In 2021 there was also a driver shortage, making a post COVID comeback challenging.
There are a lot of other exciting prospects on the horizon for public transportation in Colorado Springs. A new downtown terminal, a front range rail station, more routes and service hours, and even more alternative fueled buses are all in the plans for the years to come! Who knows where we will be in the next 135 years!