New bus service launches in region: OurBus to offer New York-Amherst and Boston-Northampton routes

By Declan Langton

For the Gazette 

Published: 11-16-2022 8:39 PM

A month after selling out trial runs offering bus service from New York to Amherst and from Boston to Northampton, a regional transportation company that specializes in intercity and charter bus trips is now offering these routes on a permanent basis.

OurBus, a six-year-old company with service in over 100 markets nationwide, launched its New York City route on Nov. 10. This route includes stops in Connecticut in downtown Hartford and at Bradley International Airport, and in Massachusetts in Holyoke, Northampton and Amherst.

The Boston route is set to begin next Tuesday and will take riders from Northampton, Amherst and Belchertown to Logan Airport.

Both routes will run daily, with fares starting at $25. More trips will be added to both routes, the company said.

OurBus founder Axel Hellman said the company saw a need to expand to the Northampton and Holyoke areas.

“These new routes will bring Pioneer Valley passengers direct service to New York and Boston,” he said. “There are tens of thousands of students from the Boston metropolitan area who have little to no access to direct transportation. After a trial run in October completely sold out, we realized there is a long-term need for regular transportation along this corridor.”

Beginning as a startup in New York City, OurBus was founded in July 2016. According to Hellman, the company was designed to bring “excellent customer service, high-quality charter-style buses and smart routes to the intercity traveler.”

Greyhound and Peter Pan also provide bus transportation from the Pioneer Valley to major cities. Though these buses have defined stops in Northampton, Amherst, South Hadley, Holyoke and other smaller areas, transfers are frequently needed in Springfield, Hellman said. OurBus will not require a transfer.

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OurBus rides must be purchased online through the company’s website. The company touts its flexible cancellation and rescheduling policy that allows riders to cancel or reschedule their trips without charge up until 30 minutes before the bus’s departure time.

The OurBus route from New York to Amherst will begin at 672 1st Ave., between 38th and 39th Street, in Manhattan. It will then make stops at the Hartford Convention Center, Bradley Airport (arrivals terminal), Holyoke Mall Transit Bus Shelter (50 Holyoke St.), Academy of Music Bus Shelter at 274 Main St. in Northampton, and M&T Bank at 25 East Pleasant St. in Amherst.

The route from Northampton to Boston’s Logan Airport will begin at the Academy of Music. It will then make stops at M&T Bank in Amherst, Belchertown center, the Worcester 146 Commuter Lot, South Station Gate 12 in Boston, and Logan Airport T Station.

As a new company, OurBus doesn’t yet have signs along its new routes, including in western Massachusetts. Information about stop locations is found on the OurBus website, and some stops may be marked on Google Maps.

Additionally, there are no OurBus-specific vehicles; rather the company partners with different bus companies across the country. If a vehicle isn’t labeled with an OurBus sticker on the outside, it will include signs on the dashboard that should be visible from the street.

Hellman, however, says that OurBus vehicles are easy to spot. In addition to signage, “we give riders numerous alerts in the app with our exact locations,” he said. “We’re pretty hard to miss.”