2017 was a good year for the SMART bus. Melinda Estey was a guest on AM 1390's Talk of the Town. She reported an increase in ridership of 13% for the 4 county region. The Owatonna route has been especially popular. This has actually been a two-edged sword as the increase in ridership has led to some difficulty staying on schedule. This is a deviated route meaning you can request the bus to deviate up to 3 blocks from a designated stop. The route is transitioning to a limit of 3 deviations per hour. Estey explains further:

 

This change in the number of deviations will take full effect on Monday, January 29. One other alteration is that Steele County Public Health will no longer be an automatic stop on the route. It will be by request only.

Details on pricing and routes can be found at the SMART Bus web site.