A state-financed expansion of public transportation in western Massachusetts is being launched this month.
The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority will introduce seven new bus routes, including a much demanded cross-town bus in Springfield, and a new route between Amherst and Holyoke. There will be more hours, mostly on the weekend, on 14 routes and buses will run more frequently on 15 routes. PVTA Administrator Mary MacInnes said ridership was up 2 percent last year.
"So my feeling is if we can increase ridership without improving service imagine what will happen to the ridership when we do have these significant service improvements."
The PVTA received an additional $4.2 million from the state to pay for the expanded service. The money was part of the $500 million state transportation finance bill approved last year.