BRTA night service to expand with boost from grant
PITTSFIELD —The Berkshire Regional Transit Authority will soon expand its night service to add 7:30 and 9:30 runs to the northern and southern parts of the county.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation announced Wednesday that it awarded $5.1 million in grants to transportation agencies across the state, including $361,128 to the BRTA.
"These awards will support Regional Transit Authorities as they launch projects to enhance existing options and implement best practices," Gov. Charlie Baker said in a statement. "The combination of operating and capital funding will help RTAs develop innovative plans to provide more reliable service to riders in communities across the Commonwealth."
The BRTA submitted two applications for grant money. The first, which was approved, was to launch a one-year pilot program to extend night service to Berkshire Community College and add runs from Pittsfield to North Adams and Great Barrington.
The North route will travel along Route 8, ending at the Walmart in North Adams, and the South route will travel to Great Barrington using the current Route 21 Express.
The BRTA selected these routes after completing a survey of riders who identified them as the biggest need, according to BRTA Administrator Robert Malnati.
"Most of the responses [to the survey] were for these routes," he said.
It's not clear when the pilot will take effect, as MassDOT has not yet provided the official contracts for the grant money.
The BRTA also submitted an application for funding to team up with Peter Pan Bus Lines to bring passengers from Williamstown to Great Barrington on local buses before they board the private service to take them to New York City. Peter Pan currently has a route that takes passengers from Williamstown to the city, but the collaboration would shorten the route for its drivers and provide business to the BRTA.
That application was not approved, Malnati said.
He said that the agency is still open to talking with Peter Pan about how to implement the project.
"It could be a win-win for both agencies as far as getting people from North County to South County and then Great Barrington to New York," he said.
Haven Orecchio-Egresitz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, @HavenEagle on Twitter and 413-770-6977.
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