UMass Amherst, Five Colleges to Meet with PVTA Head Following Bus Route Cuts

AMHERST, Mass. – Administrators from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the other members of the Five College Consortium will meet with Pioneer Valley Transit Authority administrator Sandra Sheehan on July 24 to discuss recent route reductions and ways to maintain effective service.

Citing budget shortfalls, the PVTA this spring proposed a number of service reductions across its system. Following several public hearings and some community outcry, the PVTA advisory board on July 19 approved a number of changes, including the elimination of the M40, an express service between Amherst and Northampton favored by commuting students and workers.

At the same time, the board announced it would convert some morning and evening runs on the B43, which follows much the same route as the M40, to express runs to serve those commuters.

The board also reduced service on runs 46 (South Deerfield to UMass) and R29 (UMass to Holyoke).

Neal Abraham, executive director of Five Colleges Inc., said the meeting with Sheehan will focus on long-term maintenance of effective service on the B43 as well as possible adjustments to the 39 route, which serves Mount Holyoke, Hampshire and Smith colleges. That route had been considered for elimination before the July 19 vote.

Scheduled to attend the meeting are representatives of each of the Five Colleges, including Shane Conklin, UMass Amherst associate vice chancellor for facilities and campus services; Abraham; Glenn Barrington, UMass Amherst manager of transportation services; and Jamin Carroll, manager of the PVTA’s Northampton operations facility.

UMass Amherst transportation services operates PVTA buses for the Five Colleges and several area municipalities.

In all, the PVTA advisory board voted to eliminate four of its 63 routes and to reduce service on nine others.