BOSTON (WWLP) - After waiting nearly one hour for a bus on a cold winter day, Ana Sanoguel of Springfield says the cold agitated her arthritis. She was left in physical pain and became sick. A Northeastern University study finds that low-income Latino residents in Springfield have few options to get around. If they can't afford a car, they have to rely on a friend's car or infrequent bus services.
"We have people who are working in Holyoke and because of the bus, the public transportation, the bus was not passing at certain times, they couldn't continue working," said Elsie Sanchez, a Springfield organizer at Neighbor to Neighbor.
But nearly 90 percent of people surveyed said they'd use public transportation if it was more reliable, had frequent hours and got them to where they needed to go. Stephanie Pollack, associate director of the Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy, says a transportation-tax bill on the governor's desk requires the PVTA's advisory board to produce a transportation plan.
"And our hope would be that kind of planning, taking into account what we learned in our study, will produce a better set a bus routes, a better set of operating hours, more weekend service, more evenings. Then we're going to have to get the money to fund that," said Pollack.
Pollack says the transportation-tax bill does not generate enough revenue to meet all the state's public transit needs. The next step would be to raise more money to improve bus and rail services outside Boston. Though this study focused on Latino communities, Pollack says the results were likely true among other low-income people in Springfield.