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quaboag-connector-towns-2017-1MassDOT announced today that a new “Quaboag Connector” van transportation service is available for residents in the Quaboag Valley region which includes the towns of Belchertown, Brookfield, Hardwick, Monson, Palmer, Ware, Warren and West Brookfield.

The curb-to-curb service has begun as a 12-month pilot that receives logistical and financial support from local municipalities, transit agencies, and businesses.

“We are pleased to help provide this much needed transportation service for the first time to the residents of the Quaboag Valley Region,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “The new van service will ensure that residents have access to education, employment, and health and social services.  We would like to thank our state, local, and regional partners for all of their work on this effort.”

“While the lack of public transportation has been a long-standing problem in the Quaboag Region, the creation of E2E: Education to Employment in Ware has accelerated the need for transportation within the Region,” said Sheila Cuddy, Executive Director of the Quaboag Valley Community Development Center and the Business Assistance Corporation. “We are thankful to MassDOT and the Baystate Wing Hospital Corporation for this thoughtful and responsive investment in the Region to help residents lead fuller and more self-sufficient lives.”

The purpose of the new service is to provide transportation to and from the following:

  • Jobs and employment-related services;
  • Education related services, including E2E: Education to Employment, the Quaboag Region Workforce Training and Community College Center located in Ware;
  • Needed social services in the region; and
  • Connections to the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority’s (PVTA) trunk lines via the Palmer village shuttle and Ware shuttle operated by PVTA, as well as to Five College bus service in Belchertown, and to the Worcester Regional Transit Authority’s (WRTA) trunk line in Brookfield.

The total cost of the pilot is $80,000. Funding for the Quaboag Connector is provided, in part, by a $40,500 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. This grant requires a match, and Baystate Wing Hospital Corporation contributed $30,000 toward it.

“Transportation can provide the link to essential opportunities that can have a profound influence on health and quality of life,” says Michael Moran, President and Chief Administrative Officer of Baystate Health’s Eastern Region. “Baystate Health is strongly committed to Ware and the many communities in our region and will continue to work with community partners to focus on programs and initiatives that promote wellness, education and workforce development, and improve access to care.”

The hours of operation for the Quaboag Valley Connector Van Service are 6:30 a.m., to 10:30 a.m., and then 3:30 p.m., to 7.30 p.m., Monday through Friday.  Ride requests need to be made 48 hours in advance. The cost is $1 per ride.

Two vans with the capacity to transport five to eight passengers were donated by the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority to the Town of Ware.  The town pays for registration and maintenance of the vans, and provides dispatch services and has hired three part-time drivers.  The Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission and the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission provide technical assistance.

The service began on February 1, 2017, and runs on a pilot basis for 12 months.  For additional information on the service, visit www.rideconnector.com.

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