Pioneer Valley Transit Authority

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Pioneer Valley Transit Authority
Pvta logo.png
PVTA New Flyer bus.jpg
Pioneer Valley Transit Authority bus #7813 travels past Smith College on the B43 in Northampton.
Founded 1974
Headquarters 2808 Main Street
Springfield, MA 01107
Locale Pioneer Valley, Massachusetts
Service area Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties.
Service type Local bus transit
Fleet 174 buses, 144 vans
Annual ridership 11.5 million (2012)
Operator See organizational structure below
Chief executive Mary MacInnes (administrator)
Website Pioneer Valley Transit Authority
University of Massachusetts Transit

The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) oversees and coordinates public transportation in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts. Currently the PVTA offers fixed-route bus service as well as paratransit service for the elderly and disabled. The PVTA was created by Chapter 161B of the Massachusetts General Laws in 1974. It is based in Springfield, Massachusetts and serves Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties.

Organizational structure[edit]

As per Section 25, Chapter 161B of the Massachusetts General Laws, regional transit authorities in Massachusetts are not permitted to directly operate their service, but must instead contract with other entities to operate the buses. As such, the PVTA contracts with two entities to provide fixed-route service in the service area:[1] First Transit and UMass Transit Services. The contractors run semi-autonomous garages that act as vehicle depots for the surrounding areas.[2]

Springfield Area Transit Company[edit]

The Springfield Area Transit Company (SATCo) operates the southern portion of PVTA's service area, servicing Hampden County. The SATCo, located at 2808 Main Street in Springfield, is managed by First Transit. PVTA's headquarters are also housed at this same location. All SATCo fixed-route buses are numbered in the 1000 series, except for the Palmer and Ware shuttle buses, numbered in the 5000 series along with other vans.

UMass Transit Services[edit]

UMass Transit Services operates PVTA's routes through the Five Colleges area in eastern Hampshire County and neighboring towns, with most of the routes centered around UMass Amherst, the largest ridership generator in the service area. UMass Transit Services is a department within the University of Massachusetts Amherst.[3] The UMass Transit garage is located on-campus at 255 Governors Drive, Amherst. All UMass Transit fixed-route buses are numbered in the 3000 series. UMass Transit is a student-based organization with more than 90% of the employees (i.e. bus drivers, mechanics, dispatchers) being UMass students.

Valley Area Transit Company[edit]

The Valley Area Transit Company (VATCo) operates the central portion of PVTA's service area. All of its routes originate from Northampton, providing connections to the UMass Transit service areas via Route 9, and to the SATCo service area on the other side of the Mount Tom Range via Routes 5 and 10. VATCo, located at 54 Industrial Drive in Northampton, is managed by First Transit. All VATCo fixed-route buses are numbered in the 7000 series, except Easthampton-Nashawannuck vans, which are numbered in the 5000 series.


ADA paratransit service is provided by Hulmes Transportation for the entire service area, except for the University of Massachusetts, for which UMass Transit Services provides ADA paratransit service for university members. (Non-UMass members are services by Hulmes.) All paratransit vehicles are numbered in the 5000 series.


Hampden County[edit]

These routes are all operated by SATCo.

Route Route Name Notes
Green 1[4] Chicopee Big Y / Sumner Avenue
Green 1e[5] Sumner Express (Discontinued)
Green 2[6] Carew Street / Belmont Avenue - East Longmeadow
Green 3[7] Springfield Plaza / King St - Westford Cir.
Blue 4[8] Plainfield Street
Green 5[9] Dickinson Street / Maple / Longmeadow Connects with CT Transit Hartford's 5E-Enfield Express route.
Blue 6[10] Ludlow via Bay
Blue 7[11] State St. - Boston Road / Eastfield Mall
Red 10[12] Westfield / Westfield State University
Purple 11[13] Holyoke Community College Express
Blue 12[14] Stonybrook Express (Hampden County
Correctional Facility at Stonybrook)
Red 14[15] Feeding Hills
Red 14E[16] Agawam Industrial Park / Heritage Nursing Home Express
Blue 17[17] Eastfield Mall via Worthington St & Wilbraham Rd
Purple 20[18] Holyoke via Riverdale / Holyoke Mall (also Holyoke Mall via I-91 Express)
Purple 21[19] Holyoke via Chicopee Center (also Holyoke via I-391 Express)
Blue 23[20] Holyoke / Westfield via Holyoke Community College
Red 24[21] Holyoke Shuttle
Red 27[22] Wilbraham / Eastfield Mall
Red 29[23] Holyoke Mall / Amherst via Route 116 Serves Mt. Holyoke College, Hampshire College, Amherst College and UMass.
BTS[24] Ware Shuttle Connects to Palmer Village van
PV[25] Palmer Village Connects to B7 and B17 routes
OWL[26] Westfield State University Shuttle Connects to R10

Route Red 10 Shuttle: Westfield Center & Westfield State University:

X90A Inner-City Crosstown. Replaces the Green 19. Serves Downtown Holyoke, New Ludlow Road, Memorial Drive, Springfield Plaza, Armory St, Walnut St, White St. and Big Y in East Longmeadow.
X90B Inner-City Crosstown. Replaces the Red 22. Serves Downtown Holyoke, Willimansett, Grattan St, Springfield Plaza, Armory St, Walnut St, White St. and Big Y in East Longmeadow.

X92 Mid-City Crosstown: Route serves Mill Street, Island Pond Rd, Independence House and East Springfield Memorial Industrial Park. Replaces the former route Green 8:

South Hadley Tiger Shuttle: Formerly the Route Red 25. Bus services South Hadley, Mount Holyoke College, and the Holyoke Transportation Center.

University of Massachusetts[edit]

These routes are operated by UMass Transit Services, except for the daytime 39E, which (E runs only) is operated by VATCo.

Route Route Name Notes
Gold 30[27] North Amherst / Old Belchertown Road
Pink 31[28] Sunderland / South Amherst
Route 33[29] Puffer's Pond via UMass and Cushman Center / Big Y and Stop & Shop via UMass and Amherst Center
Blue 34[30] Campus Shuttle (Northbound): Mullins Center via Computer Science Building / Orchard Hill via Sylvan
Blue 35[31] Campus Shuttle (Southbound): Orchard Hill via Butterfield / Mullins Center via Southwest
Green 36[32] Olympia Drive / Atkins Farm
Orange 38[33] UMass-Haigis Mall / Amherst College / Hampshire College / Mount Holyoke College
Orange 39/39E[34] Smith College / Hampshire College (Evening 39E: Smith/Hampshire/Mount Holyoke)
Green 45[35] UMass / Belchertown Center via Gatehouse Rd
Green 46[36] UMass / South Deerfield Center / Whately Park & Ride


All of these routes are operated by VATCo, and hub around the Academy of Music Theatre in downtown Northampton. VATCo only operates the daytime E runs on the O39 route; all other O39 trips are operated by UMass Transit.

Route Route Name Notes
Orange 39E[37] Smith College / Mount Holyoke College Includes 39E Express van service M-F from Smith to Mt. Holyoke
Maroon 40E[38] Minuteman Express via Routes 9 and 116 (Smith College / UMass)
Red 41[39] Northampton / Holyoke Community College & Holyoke Mall via Easthampton Additional service to Easthampton available on the NE van.
Red 42[40] Northampton / Williamsburg
Blue 43[41] Northampton / Hadley / Amherst
Red 44[42] Florence Heights/Northampton/Hampshire Plaza/
Hampshire County Correctional Facility
Blue 48[43] Northampton / Veterans Park / Holyoke Mall Transfer to P20 at Holyoke Transportation Center for service to Holyoke Mall. Connects with FRTA bus to Greenfield.
NE[44] Easthampton Nashawannuck Express

X98 Crosstown Route services Downtown Northampton, Hampshire Plaza and River valley Market.


PVTA offers connections to the following regional transportation agencies, weekdays only:


One way[edit]

One-way fixed-route fares are noted below. NOTE: UMass Amherst buses (3000-series) do not have fareboxes and operate via a proof-of-payment system (see UMass Transit buses below).

Adults 13 and older Children 6 to 12 Children under 6 Seniors 60 and older Transfer
$1.25 $0.75 Free $0.60 $0.25


All passes are good through the end of the service day.

  • 1-Day passes are sold only on PVTA Springfield and Northampton buses at the fareboxes.
  • 7- and 31-day passes are sold at Big Y supermarkets in the service area, at the Springfield customer service center, at the Holyoke Transportation Center, and by the Western New England University's bursar office.
  • The 31-day pass is also sold on the PVTA website.
1-Day Pass 7-Day Pass 31 Day Pass
$3.00 $12.50 $45.00
($43 with Big Y card at Big Y stores)

UMass Transit Routes[edit]

PVTA buses operated by UMass Transit operate via a proof-of-payment system. See here for more details.

Ridership Increase[edit]

Ridership is up 12% in September 2014 and 9% in October.[45] Springfield mayor Domenic Sarno brags now that people who choose to live without a car in city centre in market rate housing can step out and get transit virtually everywhere in New England now.

Accounting Errors Investigation[edit]

An audit in 2005 revealed that the PVTA made approximately $10 million in accounting errors on a transportation development project at Springfield's Union Station. Initial reports said PVTA could owe the federal government as much as $4 million.[46] That amount was reduced in 2009 to less than $1 million.[47] A federal probe in 2006 also targeted some PVTA employees. Subsequently, Administrator Gary Shepard resigned in 2006 after being put on leave by the Advisory Board, but he was never charged with any offense.[48][49]

Holiday / School Break Service[edit]

  • Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day: All service suspended.
  • New Year's Day, Memorial Day, July 4, and Labor Day: Only SATCo routes operate, on a Sunday schedule.
  • Columbus Day and Veterans' Day: SATCo routes operate on a Saturday schedule. VATCo routes operate on a Sunday schedule. UMass Transit routes and the B43 operate on a special schedule, see here.
  • School not in session: Westfield OWL, P11, and M40 service is suspended. UMass Transit and B43: see here.


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  45. ^ Tuthill, Paul (Dec 5, 2014). "Public Transit Is Becoming More Popular". WAMC. 
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External links[edit]