For years, commuters have been asking the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority to run buses at night.

The Berkshire Eagle  reports ,now that several nighttime loops have been established as a one-year trial, the agency's administrator hopes that people will actually use the service so it can become a permanent part of the schedule.

"We want our customers to actually ride the bus," Bob Malnati told The Eagle this week. "They have anecdotally been saying for years that `we want evening service,' and now we're dipping our toes in the water."

Malnati and BRTA staff have been working to modernize the agency and its service for nearly 10 years, starting with the creation of its app. Now, with the night service up and running, he is focused on exploring new projects, like bringing more on-demand service to the Berkshires.

The authority began surveying riders last year on what routes and times would be the most useful if there was going to be an expansion of services. The data showed that people were most interested in night service in Pittsfield that served Tyler Street and Berkshire Community College.

The BRTA funded its own pilot program, testing out trips along those routes between 6 and 10 p.m. starting in January. And in May, the agency received a $361,000 grant that allowed for the addition of evening trips from the Intermodal Transportation Center in Pittsfield to the Walmart in North Adams and to Great Barrington, Malnati said.

Those night routes to north and south county will kick off in July, he said.

 

The BRTA works with 1Berkshire in a number of ways, including through the recently formed Transportation Management Association as well as planning of The Berkshire Flyer.