Yaakov Eitan Svenson: Asks PVTA to communicate with students

Sunday, June 18, 2017
Asks PVTA to communicate with students

On June 10, my friend and I walked to the Smith College bus stop to board the B43. While there, we noticed a flier informing riders that the PVTA was considering reducing service on the 39 and M40 routes (“PVTA considers cutting back on 20 routes,” June 15).

Despite being students at Hampshire College, this was the first announcement that we had encountered regarding the cuts. We rely upon these routes, as do hundreds of other students. For many, the option to take courses at multiple campuses was a determining factor in our choice to attend our schools, and for those enrolled in consortium programs that require cross-registration, it is a necessity for degree completion. Service reductions will substantially impede and potentially remove our ability to pursue these opportunities.

Unfortunately, most students impacted by this will be denied a voice because they are not here during the summer. Though I am sensitive to the PVTA’s need to finalize a budget before publishing 2017-2018 schedules, they must act to notify students. By partnering with the consortium, they should be able to reach students electronically and through mailings (as some students do not check their school emails during breaks).

In actively communicating with students, they can help ensure that they have an understanding of how to best minimize educational disruptions while balancing their mandate to provide transportation with financial sustainability.

In addition to the potential for loss of student enrollment and participation in local economies, I would also ask the PVTA to remember that service reductions disproportionately impact low-income students. These students’ families can rarely afford to provide an additional car and some do not have one at all. This leaves low-income students without alternative options for finishing their degrees.

Accessible transportation is central to economic justice and we all have a moral obligation to act to work toward that ideal.

Yaakov Eitan Svenson