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(September 1, 2011) ? Thanks to an agreement forged between Five Colleges, Inc. and the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority, the PVTA-Five College bus service will be improved for students, with more express buses and a shift in bus schedules that will better accommodate class schedules and shorten some run times.
Beginning Tuesday, September 6, there will be increased express bus service between Smith and Mount Holyoke (Buses 39 Express and 39E) and faster service between UMass and Mount Holyoke (Bus 38). In addition, other bus times have changed this year, so anyone expecting to ride a PVTA bus in the Five College area should consult a 2011/12 bus schedule or visit fivecolleges.edu/bus.
Most notable among the changes is the addition of 12 express bus runs between Mount Holyoke and Smith colleges. The express buses will reduce travel time between campuses to approximately 30 minutes from what could otherwise take more than an hour and a bus change. Insofar as possible, buses will be timed to leave about ten minutes after classes end and to arrive about ten minutes before classes start. For almost every case, students will be able to ride between campuses in less than one class period (previously many times a traveling student had to miss two class periods).
The schedule of service between Smith and Hampshire (Bus 39) has also been changed to better serve class times. The changes include earlier morning buses leaving Northampton for Hampshire College.
Another change will have students who are switching buses at Hampshire College disembark and wait for their connection in a bus shelter rather than on the bus, which will be freed to continue its route, thus eliminating about 10 minutes from the UMass to Mount Holyoke run.
"Getting students to campuses faster, and at times that work better with class schedules, gives students more options to take advantage of the intercampus opportunities the Five College consortium fosters," said Five College Executive Director Neal Abraham, who negotiated the changes with PVTA.
All changes to the Five College PVTA bus routes, as well as links to new bus schedules and a Google maps bus route guide, can be found at fivecolleges.edu/bus.