How to Run Away (by Bus)

Saffron Turner

New to the Valley this semester? Lack of car ownership getting you down? The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (better known as the PVTA) can help you get places! The PVTA runs several buses with transport to and from Amherst, Hadley, Northampton, South Hadley, and other locations in the surrounding area. Bus routes are designated with numbers. All buses without a letter at the start of their name are free to all. When school is in session, the B43 bus is free with Student ID (so don’t forget your OneCard!) Curious as to the wonderful places you could go on the PVTA? We’ll lay it out for you!

From Hampshire campus

Hampshire College has four bus stops: the main bus stop in the parking lot behind the Harold F. Johnson library, “Sander’s Stop” outside of Enfield House, the Dakin House bus stop, and a bus stop between Prescott House and the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Two buses come to all bus stops, the 38 and 39. One bus, the R29, stops only at the main bus stop.

Route 38

The trusty 38 allows access to four of the Five Colleges and the towns of Amherst and South Hadley. The UMass/Haigis Mall route takes you through the rest of the town of Amherst. Three colleges, including Hampshire, Amherst College, and University of Massachusetts—Amherst, are accessible via this route of the 38. The Amherst College bus stop drops you off in front of Converse Hall, while the UMass bus stop drops you off in front of Haigis Mall, near the concert hall. The Amherst Common and Amherst Post Office bus stops are right in the middle of town. They provide access to several other routes throughout the valley. The Mt. Holyoke College route of the 38 takes you to the town of South Hadley, getting you to Mount Holyoke College. There are three bus stops at Mount Holyoke: Stone Shelter, Mary Woolley Hall, and Blanchard Hall (which currently closed due to construction).

Route 39

The Smith College route takes you through rural Hadley to Smith College in Northampton. Get off the bus before Smith at the Northampton Court House or Masonic St/Academy of Music stops to explore the citytown of Northampton. The 39 ends its eastbound route at Hampshire College, where the bus idles for five minutes before heading back to Northampton. The 39 has changed operation from previous years; there is no longer a direct bus from Smith College to Mount Holyoke College. For these trips, a transfer onto the 38 is now required.

Route R29

The R29 makes about seven stops a day at Hampshire. It costs $1.25 per ride or $3.00 for a day pass. Holyoke Mall via Route 116 takes you to the city of Holyoke, passing through South Hadley on the way. The route ends at the Holyoke Transportation Center, to get there, ride on the Holyoke Mall via Main Street route. From Hampshire, the Amherst via Route 116 bus takes you to UMass/Haigis Mall—but it doesn’t make sense to take the R29 into town if the 38 is running.

From Amherst Center

Catch these buses at the Amherst Post Office or Cowles Lane stops, depending on which direction you’re coming from.

Route B43

Show your student ID to the bus driver upon boarding. The Northampton via Hampshire Mall route runs by Amherst Post Office and Amherst College. The Hampshire Mall is home to the closest major retailers to Hampshire College including Target, JCPenney. It even has an indoor roller rink and mini golf course. It is also adjacent to a large shopping plaza with retailers like Wal-Mart, Trader Joe’s, Barnes and Noble, and Whole Foods. The bus continues through Hadley on its way to Northampton; the route ends at Smith College. The Amherst College via UMass route ends at Amherst College. When school is not in session, the B43 costs $1.25.

Route 33

From Cowles Lane or the Jones Library, the Big Y/Stop and Shop route runs to, you guessed it, Hadley’s Big Y and Stop and Shop locations. Other retailers in the Stop and Shop plaza include TJMaxx, Petco, and Sally Beauty Supply. The Puffers Pond route runs through UMass; bus stops on North Pleasant Street include Studio Arts Building/Fine Arts Center, Morrill Science Center/Integrative Learning Center, Arnold House/Graduate Research Center, and College of Education/Fairfield Street. The route ends at Mill Hollow Apartments/Puffer’s Pond.

Other Routes

Route 30 provides service through North Amherst, UMass, and East Amherst. From Amherst Post Office, the North Amherst route runs through UMass campus on North Pleasant Street, ending at Puffton Village Apartments. From Cowles Lane, the Old Belchertown Road route heads eastbound towards the Colonial Village and Rolling Green apartment complexes, ending at Old Belchertown Road. Route 31 provides service through South Amherst, UMass, and the town of Sunderland. From Cowles Lane, the South Amherst route ends at the Boulders apartment complex. From Amherst Post Office, the Sunderland route runs through UMass campus on North Pleasant Street with a stop in Sunderland Center. The route ends at Sugarloaf Estates. Route 45 runs about eight times a day through UMass to Belchertown. To get to Belchertown, take the Belchertown Center via Gatehouse Road route from the Cowles Lane stop.

The 38 and 39 do not run over Thanksgiving break, November 24-26. When these buses are not in session, Route 36 can be caught at Atkins County Market, accessible via a walking path between the Yiddish Book Center and solar farm construction. Olympia Drive via East Pleasant St takes you to Amherst Center. The 36 only runs during Thanksgiving break, winter session, spring break, and the summer.

On iOS, download the UMass Bustrack app for schedule times, real-time maps, and other information about bussing in the Pioneer Valley with the PVTA! This app is not an official PVTA app, but is well-maintained and accurate.

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