Then & Now: Inter-college Transportation
1968 was a year of change for the Five College system. Hampshire College had been founded three years previously and was preparing to open its doors to students in 1970. There were several meetings to establish the details of the Five College Consortium, and the intercollegiate bus system was often a topic of conversation at these meetings.
Previously, nine-passenger vans (pictured, top) had shuttled students between the colleges. As inter-college cooperation picked up, however, it became clear that the small shuttles were not adequate to meet the needs of students who were taking classes and participating in activities on other campuses.
It was decided the vans would be supplemented with larger chartered buses, subsidized by the now five colleges’ student government associations and minimal student fees.
The buses ran from Mount Holyoke to Amherst College to UMass and back, leaving Mount Holyoke approximately every hour on the hour during the week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Evening buses operated seven days a week. There was no bus that ran between Smith and Mount Holyoke; students wishing to travel between the two women’s colleges had to transfer lines.
The loading point was the south side of Mead Hall, and the bus did not make any other stops on campus unless, according to the Five College Information Handbook, “specific exceptional arrangements have been made in advance.”
When students want to leave campus they board the PVTA (Pioneer Valley Transit Authority), the largest regional transit authority in Massachusetts.
Instead of saying each letter “P-V-T-A,” Mount Holyoke students refer to the bus as “The Piv-Ta.”
Ten of the current fleet of PVTA buses are hybrid vehicles with diesel-electric propulsion to reduce greenhouse gases.
There are two lines that stop on the Mount Holyoke campus. The 39 line runs between Mount Holyoke and Smith, stopping at Hampshire, Atkins Farm, and several places in Northampton along the way. The 38 line runs from Mount Holyoke to UMass and back again, making stops at Hampshire and Amherst College.
Buses no longer stop at Mead; The PVTA’s main campus stop is on Lower Lake Road, near Blanchard. It also stops other places on campus, such as on Park Street across from Torrey Hall, near the Art Building on Lower Lake Road, near South Rockefeller Hall on Chapin Road, and on College Street, across from Pearsons.
—By Olivia Lammel ’14
This article appeared in the fall 2014 issue of the Alumnae Quarterly.
October 15, 2014