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PVTA to Debut Northampton-Springfield Express Route With Electric Buses

A PVTA electric bus on the Holyoke-Springfield P21E route recharges at Springfield Union Station in this August 2018 photo. Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Pi.1415926535, licensed under the Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license.

The Pioneer Valley will get a new express bus connecting Northampton, the Holyoke Mall, and downtown Springfield this summer.

The the Pioneer Valley Transity Authority (PVTA) recently received a $487,000 grant from MassDOT to pilot a new Northampton-Holyoke-Springfield Express bus route.

The pilot would provide hourly bus service, between Northampton, the Holyoke Mall, and Union Station in downtown Springfield, bewteen 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays. Buses between Holyoke Mall and Union Station would run every 30 minutes.

A similar bus trip between Northampton and Springfield is possible today, but it requires a transfer in downtown Holyoke, and takes at least an hour. The new express route will make the trip in about 35 minutes.

The agency also plans to use electric buses for the new service. Since 2017, the PVTA has used electric buses on its existing P21E route, an express between Springfield Union Station and downtown Holyoke, with a charging station at the PVTA's Springfield Union Station bus terminal (pictured above).

The new Northampton-Holyoke-Springfield Express is expected to start running this July.

In addition to the PVTA grant, MassDOT also announced grant funding for ten other initiatives at the state's other regional transit authorities (RTAs).

    • Brockton Area Transit won $10,000 to continue funding lower-cost commuter rail passes between Brockton and Boston, plus $319,750 to sustain its expanded service to Stoughton;
    • Berkshire RTA and Southeastern RTA (in Fall River-New Bedford) each won grants to sustain evening bus service on several routes;
    • Franklin RTA, GATRA (serving the Taunton-Attleboro region), MetroWest RTA (in Framingham and Natick), and Worcester RTA all won grants to continue or expand their existing pilots of on-demand "microtransit" services.

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