The Importance of Buses

PVTA Route 33 bus | Amherst, Ma. | 2011
By Newflyer504 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0] | via Wikimedia Commons
On Wednesday, July 19th, the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority Advisory Board will meet to considering significant cuts to the PVTA route network in Hampden and Hampshire counties.

The possible cuts in service (detailed below) are driven by the need to address an operating budget deficit at the PVTA of up to $1.2 million for the coming fiscal year.

Source: http://www.pvta.com/media/pdfs/PVTA%20FY18%20Deficit%20table%2005-19-17.pdf

 

We can’t speak to the details of the PVTA’s FY2018 operating budget but we can speak to the importance of the overall service provided by the PVTA in our region.

Source: http://www.pvta.com/media/pdfs/SystemMap2017.pdf

 

The PVTA is the largest regional transit authority in the commonwealth. During the last fiscal year their fixed-route network carried in excess of 12 million passengers.

Simply put — the services provides by the PVTA are absolutely critical to our region.

The PVTA’s fixed-bus network network of fixed-buses

• are often the only transport option for people who don’t drive, can’t drive, or have disabilities

• are flexible, fast, green and clean

• play an important role in social cohesion, helping people, especially those on low incomes, access education, work and healthcare

• play a crucial and expanding role in connecting different modes of transit (in particular passenger rail)

And with minimal investment, new routes – across town or the region – can be launched.

 

In particular, we are naturally very concerned about the possible elimination of M40 express route between UMass Amherst and Northampton since we know that there are aware of many UMass students who use this bus to travel to/from the train station in Northampton.

We would encourage the PVTA Advisory Board to find other ways to cut costs and enhance their passenger revenue streams before cutting major routes.

 

On a more positive note it must be mentioned that Franklin Regional Transit Authority (FRTA) has no plans to cut any of their major routes and instead will be adding two new routes starting in September.

Source: http://frta.org/wp-content/uploads/FRTA_Summary_of_Fixed_Route_Changes_09_05_2017.pdf

Unfortunately though the FRTA fixed-network continues to be one of the only two regional transit authorities in the commonwealth that do not provide service on Saturday, Sundays and holidays – despite the continued efforts of the advocacy group Transportation Justice for Franklin County Mass.

 

Just to say it one more time – buses are important for the Pioneer Valley.

Next time you take the train ask yourself, “can I take the bus to the station instead of a car?” Chances are, the answer is yes.

 

> Updated on July 20, 2017 at 8 a.m. <

“The PVTA Advisory board voted Wednesday to eliminate or cut bus service on 20 routes, saving $838,000 in the coming year on the way toward closing a $1.38 million gap in its total budget of $48.21 million.”

A full news report from the meeting can be found on this link:

“PVTA approves bus service cuts, spares some routes while decrying state budget that forced its hand”
By Jim Kinney | The Republican | July 19, 2017

 

 


Further Reading

“Riders troubled by PVTA’s proposed service reductions”
By Rebecca Mullen | Daily Hampshire Gazette | July 9, 2017

“Colleges balk at bus service reductions”
By Rebecca Mullen | Daily Hampshire Gazette | July 12, 2017

“PVTA bus service loses out in state budget”
By Jim Kinney | The Republican | July 12, 2017