PVTA Blames State For Proposed Increased Fares And Service Cuts

Feb 27, 2018

Riders of the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority are crying foul over possible service cuts and fare increases. The PVTA blames a lack of money from the state of Massachusetts.

The PVTA is proposing the elimination of some routes, fewer runs on others, and a fare increase of 25 percent starting in July.

Rider Lorraine Crump lives in Springfield.

"It's unfair to those of us who are not financially able to keep adding more money onto everything," she said. "Everywhere we go, it's more money, more money, more money and less service." 

The bus service says it's facing a budget crunch.

It hasn't had a fare increase in a decade. Costs are going up but not state funding, which accounts for almost half of the PVTA's revenue.

Christa Oldread, the agency's manager of operations and planning, laid out the case at a public hearing in Springfield.

"This year, we were told by the governor that we would be level-funded to levels from last year," she said. "And because of this, we are expecting a $3.1 million deficit in the budget. And as a result, we are proposing service changes, and raising the fare in order to balance the PVTA budget."

Frank Kelly rides the bus every day to work in Springfield from Chicopee. He said the service cuts would mean he'd be late to his job on Saturdays. But he isn't criticizing the PVTA.

"My biggest issue with this is the state has additional revenues now with the casinos, the marijuana revenue they're getting from taxes, and also the economy is doing better," he said. "So the state should be getting more tax revenue. And I'd like to see them put a little more of it into the public transportation." 

The PVTA is holding more public hearings on the proposal through mid-March, and plans to make a final decision in April.