A study released today says transportation options are inadequate for low-income residents in four Massachusetts cities. The study from Northeastern University’s Dukakis Center surveyed 100 residents from Springfield’s north end. Almost all of them said they rely on cars to get to grocery stores, school and work. But only 41-percent reported actually having a car. Stephanie Pollock is the associate director of the Dukakis Center.
“There’s a lot of folks who rely on other people’s cars as an important means of transportation. Because they can’t afford their own car and the transit system doesn’t take them where they need to go when they need to get there.”
Out of the four Massachusetts cities surveyed, Springfield respondents reported the worst access to bus routes and the highest unemployment rate. Elsie Sanchez is the study’s Springfield field organizer. She says most buses run from 8:30 to 6 — that doesn’t help many of residents she surveyed, including one man who used to work the night shift at the Holyoke Mall.
“He lost his job because he would find people to bring him sometimes but there were other times when people were not able to bring him. And he was walking from Holyoke to Springfield like four or five times he had to walk.”
The transportation bill state lawmakers are debating could include a lot more money for transit agencies like the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority. Sanchez says extending the hours of existing bus routes would have the greatest impact on residents.