The Franklin Regional Transit Authority (FRTA) was established in 1978 with the provisions of Chapter 161B. The FRTA currently serves 41 communities throughout Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire and Worcester Counties.
While it is not the largest transit authority in Massachusetts, the FRTA covers the greatest distance at 1121.08 square miles of service coverage and in the most geographically rural area in the state.
The FRTA is a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and is funded by federal, state and local governments, as well as, fare box and advertising revenues. Additionally, the towns that are served by the FRTA pay an assessed amount based on the number of miles served in each town. The Authority is given general responsibility to develop, finance and contract for the operation of transportation facilities and services within our transit area. The day-to-day affairs of the Authority are managed by the Administrator who is appointed by the Advisory Board.
According to the statute, regional transit authorities cannot operate service directly but instead must contract with private operators for the provision of service. The FRTA contracts with Franklin Transit Management, Inc. for the fixed routes and several Demand Response service areas. Due to the rural area served, the FRTA also contracts with several Councils on Aging to provide additional Demand Response transportation.
Federal funds must be used for capital projects. Capital funds may only be spent on tangible items such as: equipment; preventative maintenance of vehicles; facilities and equipment; ADA services; facility improvements; and the purchase of vehicles.
Operating expenses must come from grants, state/local funding and fare box revenue. Operating expenses cover salaries, benefits, advertising and marketing expenses and other cash needs.
The Franklin Regional Transit Authority currently has a fleet of 37 vehicles. We operate 8 buses, 8 mini buses and 21 vans that provide service for 41 participating member communities.
In August of 2006, the FRTA assumed the responsibility of providing transportation services for the towns of Greenfield and Montague. Transportation for these two (2) towns was previously operated under M.G.L. Ch. 161B, by the Greenfield Montague Transportation Area (GMTA) and included fixed route and Demand Response service.
The FRTA had four (4) original fixed routes and with the consolidation of services the fixed route service increase to nine (9) routes; services expanded into Amherst closing previous gaps in Demand Response service; and ADA service was implemented for the consumers in Greenfield and Montague, whereas, the service was previously provided under the Demand Response system.
The FRTA contracts with the Department of Medical Assistance (DMA), Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and Department of Public Health (DPH) for human service transportation.
We can arrange transportation by request for elders and the disabled residents in our 41 town area. We use a network of public and private transportation providers to provide this service. In order to qualify for these services, you must be 60 or older or have a significant mobility or functional impairment. Disabled customers must have valid eligibility through the FRTA.