Possible PVTA cuts could have effect at UMass

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Five UMASS bus routes could be eliminated, which means, students and workers who depend on the bus service, might have to figure out another way to get work and school.

“It’s about the only thing I have around here to get around, so it’s very important to me,” a UMASS student told 22News.

The PVTA is considering cutting bus service at UMASS as its facing a $1.2 million budget deficit. The PVTA could cut service to 16 routes.

“It’s very long, it takes about 50 minutes on the bus, but if I don’t have that, I’ll have to take a cab or get a car and that’s a little tough on my pocket,” a UMASS student added.

Campus shuttle routes 34 and 35 would be affected.

The bus service provides transportation to the newly built Olympia Place student housing, and Village Park apartment complex, which offers affordable housing to low income families.

“There are people out on a daily basis,” Lori Thibodeau, a UMASS worker told 22News. “They come every 10 minutes. If they cut it, I don’t know what the students would be doing.”

A young mother told 22News, she would have no other way to bring her 1-year old daughter to school.

“It’s the only bus that comes by Village Park and it’s the bus that takes us to town and that’s where everything is,” Mersadez Wright of Village Park said. “It’s pretty dependable, like I need it.”

Bus services from Northampton, Sunderland and Deerfield could also be affected.

UMASS PVTA service carries more than 3.5 million passengers annually.

And it accounts for nearly 30 percent of all of PVTA’s service.

A letter from the university to students said transportation staff will ensure all of PVTA routes operated by the college remain.