The University of Massachusetts in Amherst recently unveiled a new $5 million University Transit Center that features a vehicle garage, driver training facility and operations center for the Regional Traveler Information Center (RTIC).
UMass Transit Services, which operates the 16,000-square-foot facility, provides bus and van service to eight local communities and five colleges for the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority. UMass Transit serves more than 2.6 million passengers per year, and its vehicles travel more than 1 million miles annually.
“The facility will house our safety and training department, including a classroom,” said Al Byam, general manager of UMass Transit. “It will also house some of our buses and lift-equipped vans, enabling us to get all our equipment under a roof.”
The university provided $1.12 million for the construction of the facility. The rest of the funding was provided by the Federal Transit Administration.
The RTIC will enhance commuter and traveler choices in the area, as well as assist in monitoring traffic during special events, snow events and emergency and evacuation situations.
University officials said the new facility replaces a 1972 building that was overcrowded and falling into disrepair. It will provide covered parking for UMass vans that serve special-needs students, plus a driver training center for bus operators. “It also has clean, dry, climate-controlled bulk storage for engine packages, radiators, windshields and other bulk parts,” Byam said.