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Riders to enjoy free bus rides across western Massachusetts

PVTA  bus makes a stop in downtown Northampton, Mass.
Nirvani Williams
PVTA bus makes a stop in downtown Northampton, Mass.

Some regional transportation agencies are offering free rides this summer. To help celebrate its 50th anniversary, the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) will not be charging fares for its bus and paratransit services from June 1 through the end of August.

It’s director of marketing, advertising and public relations, Brandy Pelletier, said the program amounts to something of a promotion.

"It's a great option for people to either try out public transit, and especially for our 50th anniversary, to thank our loyal passengers for continuing to ride," she said.

Pelletier said the funding — some $1.2 million— comes from a state transportation grant program to help promote regional transit agencies. She added in the past when fares were not collected, ridership did indeed increase.

In Berkshire County, the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority (BRTA) is also offering free rides from the start of June through the end of July, using funds from the same program.

"If we do it for like a week or so, it really doesn't change any travel patterns, but having it for a month, or in this case, two months, will hopefully change some travel patterns," said BRTA Administrator Bob Malinati.

Meanwhile, in Franklin County, the Franklin Regional Transit Authority’s board voted recently to keep bus rides free through June, 2025.

Adam joined NEPM as a freelance reporter and fill-in operations assistant during the summer of 2011. For more than 15 years, Adam has had a number stops throughout his broadcast career, including as a news reporter and anchor, sports host and play-by-play announcer as well as a producer and technician.
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