In response to proposed funding cuts to PVTA, SGA passed a resolution to draft and sign the following letter to the State Legislature:
To the Representatives of the Massachusetts General Court,
The University of Massachusetts Student Government Association writes to urge you to fully fund the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) to prevent any further reductions in service in FY19. Given that the PVTA provides vital services to residents and students of the Pioneer Valley, it is imperative that we maintain investment in the PVTA and its numerous routes. Students and members of the Pioneer Valley Community rely on PVTA Service to get to class and work. An investment in the PVTA is an investment in the state’s economy.
The PVTA’s northern routes are operated by UMass Transit Services. They serve the Five College Consortium: University of Massachusetts, Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, Hampshire College, and Amherst College as well as the Towns of Amherst, Belchertown, Granby, Hadley, South Hadley, South Deerfield, Sunderland, and the city of Northampton.
All of the PVTA’s bus routes are imperative to connect these different communities to serve the greater Pioneer Valley. Students, faculty, and staff are able to commute to the university and colleges as well as off campus to engage in the local economies. Students also use the buses to commute to classes on different campuses within the Five College Consortium. Additionally, these bus routes enhance public safety and health by providing transportation to individuals who might otherwise attempt to drive inebriated.
In addition to providing transportation to the Five College area, the PVTA buses are also critical to communities served in and around Springfield. People rely on buses to get to work, school, shopping, and a myriad of social and economic activity, and we believe that service to the University should not come at the expense of critical service to Springfield, Holyoke and the rest of the Pioneer Valley.
According to the PVTA’s Fast Break “Smart Card” program Fare Equity Analysis (2016), “52% of PVTA customers do not own or have access to a private auto, 3.7 % are age 65 or older, approximately one‐fifth are 18 or younger and more than half (55.2%) of PVTA riders have incomes at or below the federal poverty level” (p.9). PVTA riders depend on this vital public transportation service for mobility and independence.
Given these reasons, we, the University of Massachusetts Amherst Student Government Association, urge you to maintain the necessary funds to the PVTA to prevent further cuts to these critical services.
The University of Massachusetts Student Government Association