How Will PVTA Cuts Impact You?

Regional Transit Authorities are facing level funding from the state that dates back to FY15, leaving an $8 million shortfall across the RTAs in the FY19 budget.  Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) is the largest of the RTAs with 29% of the total budget. PVTA is estimating a $3.1 million deficit in their FY2019 budget that begins on July 1, 2018. This deficit will result in a reduction in services and a 25% fare increase.

Transportation is essential for creating communities of opportunity for everyone!

Many people in our region depend on public transportation for their basic needs, such as grocery shopping, medical visits, and getting to work. It is also an essential strategy in reducing Green House Gas Emissions and resilience to extreme weather events. Low income communities and communities are disproportionately affected when cuts like those underway to our MA Regional Transit Authorities occur. This is especially serious given that transportation has been identified as a regional community health need particularly for low income and rural people. Public transportation is good for communities and good for health! 

LiveWell Springfield Survey on Cuts in Service

The LiveWell Springfield Coalition has identified access to public transportation as a urgent policy priority. We advocating for the Regional Transit Authorities to have the funds they need to provide the services that many people in our region rely on because they do not have access to other forms of transportation.  We are collecting input from the community about how the proposed cuts to service and fare increase will impact them.  This survey is an advocacy tool and results will be shared locally and with state legislation.

Share Your Story!

Speak to Your Legislators


For the fourth year in a row, MassDOT is proposing that state contract assistance for PVTA and the other 14 Massachusetts RTAs for bus and van service be held level at $80.4 million. The shortfall between the RTAs’ operating funding need and the proposed level-funded amount is now $8 million – (level funding is essentially a cut in funding) and so they (all the RTA’s) are now collectively requesting that the FY2019 RTA appropriation be $88 million.

The Pioneer Valley needs  our state legislators to work together and address the immediate need to fund Massachusetts RTAs at $88 million for FY2019. This will avoid the draconian cuts that PVTA, Worcester’s WRTA, and other RTAs around the state will be forced make in July. It will also allow the legislature and MassDOT to begin in the coming year to craft a more sustainable and equitable strategy for funding regional public transportation.

For PVTA and the major population centers of Springfield, Holyoke, Northampton, and Amherst that it serves, this means that there will be a $3.1 million shortfall in state funds starting July 1. As a result, PVTA’s 24-community Advisory Board will be forced on April 11 to act on proposals that would:

$3.1 Million Cut Leads to Service Cuts and Increased Fares

  • Cut bus service10-12% on July 1, affecting or eliminating 1.1 million bus trips a year.
  • Curtail the hours and service areas for vans that carry disabled and elderly riders for who medical appointments are the most-frequent trip purpose.
  • Raise fares 25% on all users, including people on fixed incomes who have less ability to pay.
  • Compound the loss of service that PVTA already had to cut last fall because of level funding, resulting in one-fifth of all PVTA service being eliminated within one calendar year.

Impact of the Cuts

The local economic and social impacts of these proposals, if they have to be implemented, would be immediately counterproductive and inequitable:

  • Bus service will be cut in Springfield and adjoining towns just as the MGM casino and resort complex are opening in the fall of 2018. The urban location and design of the MGM development depend on significant numbers of customers and workers arriving by bus and van.
  • PVTA’s new regional bus storage and maintenance facility on Cottage Street in Springfield, due to open in early 2019, will not be fully utilized, and the number of jobs for bus drivers and maintenance staff there will go down.
  •  Academic institutions from UMass to the Five Colleges, Holyoke Community College, four Springfield colleges, and Westfield University will all lose transit service, which is essential in their efforts to retaining students and managing parking and local auto congestion.
  •  People of color and those in poverty would bear a disproportionate share of the burden of the service losses and fare increases, as PVTA would be forced to cut its more frequent high-capacity bus routes in Springfield, Holyoke, Northampton, and Amherst.
  • Approximately 2,000 ADA riders and another 1,500 seniors who use PVTA’s vans would lose hours and service areas—which are already limited on evenings and weekends.

RTAs are not at all like Boston’s MBTA: their riders are overwhelmingly transit dependent with no other way to make their trips. And in urban areas, large majorities of RTA riders are people of color and earning less than $20,000 a year.

Further, PVTA is unique among Massachusetts’ RTAs. With 580,000 service area residents and 185 buses on the road, it is the only federally designated “Tier I” transit operator outside of the MBTA. It receives 29% of the statewide RTA assistance, but carries more than 33% of all RTA passenger trips. PVTA is already the most efficient RTA on a cost per rider basis.

The Transportation Reform Act assured Massachusetts RTAs annual increases in SCA to keep up with inflation and to add service to help meet MassDOT’s goals to shift more people out of cars and onto public transportation. As the Act required, PVTA and the other RTAs in 2013 did comprehensive system wide plans. PVTA then added new service, and ridership rose by nearly 2.5 million passenger trips a year. If the impending service cuts are implemented, all of PVTA’s new ridership—and more—will be erased.