Springfield, Mass.-based Pioneer Valley Transportation Authority (PVTA) has announced that it is considering eliminating service on nearly two dozen routes, including some of the ones serving a local consortium of college campuses, according to a press statement.
The PVTA Advisory Board is holding hearings and taking public comments in late June and early July. They are to make a decision on July 19, with changes to take effect at the end of August, 2017.
The consortium, "Five Colleges," is comprised of Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith colleges and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Routes being considered for elimination include linking Mount Holyoke, Hampshire and Smith; and an express run between Smith and UMass. Together they account for some 85,000 riders each year.
Five Colleges has partnered with PVTA and area towns since 1979 to subsidize these and other public transportation routes connecting the campuses. The campuses together pay more than $600,000 annually in support of Five College bus runs, which serve students, employees and community members, reducing pollution, the use of private vehicles and parking congestion.
Several other PVTA routes used by students are being considered for reduction or elimination as well.
The campuses and consortium are developing a number of approaches for arguing against route reductions, particularly against abrupt changes made after students have registered for fall classes on campuses that they will need to travel to. So far, Five College Executive Director Neal Abraham has met with the PVTA Administrator and testified at a public hearing in Amherst.
According to the Greenfield Recorder, the PVTA, said the recently passed state budget allocates it less money than it anticipated, and it now faces a deficit of $1.7 million for the coming year. For additional reporting, click here.