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Renovations complete on PVTA section of bus station

Date: 5/17/2010

May 17, 2010

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD - The most visited building in downtown just received a significant facelift.

Federal and state transportation officials joined Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) Administrator Mary MacInnes on Wednesday to officially note $160,000 in improvements in the PVTA section of the Peter Pan Bus Terminal on Main Street.

According to Robert Schwarz, executive vice president of public relations of Peter Pan Bus Lines, the terminal building sees between 11,000 and 13,000 visitors each day.

Many of the people use the PVTA, which operates a hub at the terminal.

MacInnes said the improvements were designed to carry the facility through the next three years, at which time the redevelopment of Union Station as an intermodal center for the city should be complete.

The renovations took six months and included the relocation of the dispatch office, a fresh paint job in the PVTA colors, more seating, television monitors with scheduling and route information and an additional monitor running a video on the new bicycle racks the PVTA buses now have.

"The PVTA is very happy to have made some long overdue changes to our part of the terminal," MacInnes said.

She explained Peter Pan Bus Lines, from which the PVTA rents the space, made the improvements and the PVTA will be paying for them through its monthly rent.

She added the improvements opened up more space for passengers to wait and identified this part of the terminal as being the section for PVTA customers.

Outside, additional improvements were made with new bus berth gates and exterior signage. A new video system now gives dispatchers greater visibility of arriving and departing buses.

MacInnes said the changes should increase ridership.

John Englert, manager of planning in the state's Department of Transportation, noted that he has taken a Peter Pan bus from Boston to visit the PVTA offices. Once at the terminal, he then takes a PVTA bus to its office in the North End.

"Before the renovations, this was a wind tunnel," he said.

He praised the PVTA for "taking care of business, taking care of basics."