The first thing I’d do if I were in charge of the PVTA would be to go for a name change. In the lower valley a high percentage of bus users are Hispanic and, how do I explain this? Imagine if some Mexican city had a huge population of north-of-the-border retirees and its bus service had the initials CVNT. Maybe change the name? Just sayin’.
A bigger picture issue, though, has to do with one measure of urban western Massachusetts and one particular barometer of our success; where the people who are the most successful among us choose to live. This week the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority named a new administrator. She lives in Hamden, Massachusetts. Nice town. No bus service. The head of our regional transit system lives in a place where she couldn’t use it even if she wanted to.
I’m used to it. As I’ve listed before the leader of our most significant housing initiative in the city lives in the suburbs of another state, our best real estate developer does that too, none of the heads of our most important cultural organizations live here, and the presidents and CEO’s of all our major institutions live elsewhere. I don’t mean this as a scold this time, just an observation.
How many of those people are at least connected enough to Springfield that they COULD take the PVTA to work if they needed to? It’s a pretty large network:
When they all do, maybe we’ll have made some genuine progress.