Riding the Five College Buses
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Riding the Five College Buses


The PVTA, or Pioneer Valley Transit Authority, operates public buses that go between the
Five Colleges. During the school year, you can ride the bus
for free if you show your school ID thanks to the Five College Consortium. However, taking the PVTA bus for the first
time can be overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re doing. Here are the basics for any PVTA trip. Step 1. Find your local bus stop and its departure
times. Full schedules are available at pvta.com or
posted at many bus stops. The buses that go between the five colleges
are the B43, 38, and 39. There is also a privately operated Seemo Shuttle
between Smith and Mount Holyoke. The schedule for the shuttle can be found
at fivecolleges.edu/bus. If you’re taking the PVTA, you can use Google
Maps to plan your journey. Search for your destination, for example, the Five College Center for the Study of World
Languages at 79 S. Pleasant St in Amherst, and select the public transportation option. Select a route and you will see the exact
stops to get on and get off. Remember your destination stop so you don’t
miss it later. Be aware that PVTA buses have different schedules
during holidays, weekends, and school breaks. Alternatively, you can use the official PVTA
app, PVTrAck. Step 2.
Get on the bus. You should always get to the bus stop at least five minutes in advance just in case the bus
is early. There is an up-to-the-minute bus tracker on
both the PVTA website and on the app, where you can see if the bus will be early or late. When you see or hear the bus coming, make
sure it is obvious that you are waiting for it by moving towards it or waving. When the bus pulls up, its destination and
route number will be shown on the LED screen on its front and side and stated on a recording. [BUS RECORDING] “This is the B43 servicing
Smith College via Hampshire Mall and Northampton Center.” If people are getting off, wait until they
finish then get on the bus. If you need the ramp lowered, ask the driver
who will assist you in boarding the bus. Now is the time to ask the bus driver any
questions you may have. Show them your college ID card and you’ll
be on the bus for free! You’ll have to pay a one-way fare of $1.25
if it’s during summer vacation, you’re riding a bus that is not paid for by the Five
Colleges, or you simply forget your ID. Remember, the free buses during the school
year are the B43, the 38, the 39 and the Seemo Shuttle. Always be prepared to pay with exact change
because the machines don’t give change back. Step 3.
Riding and leaving the bus. If you’ve planned your trip in advance, you’ll know the name and location of the
stop you’ll get off at. You won’t have to worry about missing your
stop if you follow along with your trip using the maps app on your phone to see where you
are. Upcoming stop names are also shown on the
LED screen at the front of the bus, and some of the main stops will have audio alerts. [BUS RECORDING] “Approaching Amherst College.” When you see that your stop is the next one,
pull the yellow cord on the side of the bus or press the STOP button on one of the poles. You’ll hear:
[BELL] BUS RECORDING: “Stop requested.” and the LED screen will change to “Stop
Requested”. Stay seated until the bus stops, then exit
through the closest door. Success! You made it to your destination.

About James Carlton

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1 thought on “Riding the Five College Buses

  1. The R29 is now also free for 5 college students 🙂 I know this video was made before that came about but just so people know

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