UMass students housed at Hadley hotel express transportation concerns

First, a number of transfer students were assigned to live in a hotel in Hadley due to a dorm shortage. Now, those students are struggling to catch a bus to cla
Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 6:46 PM EDT
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HADLEY, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - UMass Amherst parents reached out to our newsroom. First, a number of transfer students were assigned to live in a hotel in Hadley due to a dorm shortage. Now, those students are struggling to catch a bus to class.

“I’m not really having the college experience yet in a way, I feel because like I said, it’s pretty quiet here and I want to be on the living breathing campus,” said UMass Amherst sophomore Aidan Mitsis.

Mitsis is still getting acclimated to life at UMass Amherst. He’s one of 200 transfer students who are housed at the Econo Lodge in Hadley to adjust for the dorm shortage the university is facing.

“I feel like the transfers were just kind of put here. We weren’t told much. It was a little upsetting at first,” Mitsis added.

Some students that we spoke with waited at the hotel up to 30 minutes to hitch a ride to class, but others weren’t that lucky.

“I called an Uber to go to the school…If we miss it, we can always wait a half an hour, but from the hotel to the school, there’s a lot of cars,” said UMass Amherst sophomore Tony Thang.

To make the two-mile commute to campus, students must take the B43 bus, which is operated by the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority.

One parent reached out and claimed that her daughter missed the bus and had to walk to campus in the heavy downpour on Tuesday. When we checked it out for ourselves on Wednesday, the situation wasn’t much better.

“I’ll probably be five minutes late to my class if I run, so I’m hoping this bus gets here pretty soon,” Mitsis noted.

We found a flier inside the hotel that displayed the bus route, which arrives at the hotel every 30 minutes. We also reached out to UMass Amherst spokesperson Ed Blaguszewski, who said on Thursday, there are changes coming to the weekday schedule in response to concerns he’s heard from students. In a statement to Western Mass News, he said, in part:

“The new shuttle service will leave the Econo Lodge at 7:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. to provide additional service during peak morning hours. The PVTA’s B43 bus provides regular service throughout the day. However, in the peak morning hours, three of the B43 runs are express rides between Northampton and Amherst, and don’t stop at the Econo Lodge. The new shuttle service will address this concern.”

Meanwhile, students are hopeful that they can check out of the hotel by next semester when UMass Director of Resident Education Jean Mackimmie said these students will be given priority housing.

“It’s a beautiful place, I love it here. I can’t wait to move into campus soon eventually,” Mitsis said.