SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - The state spends millions of dollars a year to get people from point A to point B, but a 22News I-Team investigation found not all of the public buses have a lot of riders.
It costs $37 million dollars a year to keep the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority in operation and there are 44 different bus routes designed to help people get around - yet a 22News I-Team Investigation found not all buses are very busy.
We took a camera on this bus in Longmeadow and found lots of empty seats that went unfilled over the hour-long route.
A number of bus stops were even skipped when no one was waiting.
Something frequent riders say is typical.
"The last route which is at 6:20 p.m., heading to the terminal, I'm usually like the only person on the bus," said Springfield's Courtney Ousley.
\Now, compare that to busier buses like this one that heads into Holyoke.
The 22News I-Team showed our findings to PVTA Administrator Mary MacInnes who wasn't surprised by the lack of riders in Longmeadow.
"We had proposed eliminating two trips on that specific route and we did eliminate one of the trips due to low ridership," said Mary MacInnes, PVTA Administrator.
MacInnes says they've continued the route to Longmeadow because there are about 6 people or so who rely on it, to get to work at the Jewish home in Longmeadow. She says it's a public service that's not meant to be a money maker.
According to MacInnes, the route to Longmeadow costs about $277,201 thousand dollars to run and riders only pay $1.25 a trip.
The route clearly doesn't pay for itself, however some riders say the quiet atmosphere is what makes the route appealing.
"I prefer the quieter route, I don't have to stand, I've been standing all day, mostly in school," Springfield's Alexiz Sotomayor said.
MacInnes says this is an issue they're currently looking into.
She says they've hired a consulting firm to look at their operation budget and ridership and make recommendations to ensure taxpayers are getting their moneys worth.
"We're going to be looking at every route in the system and evaluating its performance," she said.
Also looking at areas where there might have been development where we're not serving.
MacInnes says they're also considering switching to a flex service in Longmeadow where you would operate a smaller vehicle along a fixed route and then deviate off the route on an on-call basis.