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The Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority (MVRTA) is your public transportation service. The MVRTA serves the northeast corner of Massachusetts with over 1 million miles of scheduled bus routes, and elderly and disabled transportation.

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Transit Alerts

The following changes will be implemented on April 3, 2023.

1. More direct and timely service in Amesbury, Newburyport and Salisbury, with the following service improvements

Route 17:  Haverhill – Salisbury Beach via Amesbury (Click here for schedule)

This route will provide:

  • New direct service between Haverhill, Amesbury and Salisbury
  • New service along Elm St in Salisbury
  • Double service frequency, together with the #19, along Main St through downtown Amesbury
  • Double service frequency, together with the #20, between downtown Salisbury and Salisbury Beach along Beach Rd.

Route 19:  Newburyport – Amesbury (Click here for schedule)

This route will provide:

  • Double service frequency between Newburyport Commuter Rail Station and Downtown Newburyport
  • New service along Merrimac St. to the Towle Office Building
  • Direct service between downtown Newburyport and Anna Jacques Hospital, the Newburyport Senior Center Direct & Market Basket Plaza
  • Direct service between Newburyport and Amesbury
  • Double service frequency, together with the #20, along Main St through downtown Amesbury

Route 20: Newburyport – Salisbury Beach (Click here for schedule)

This route will provide:

  • Double service frequency, together with the #19, between Newburyport Commuter Rail Station and Downtown Newburyport
  • Direct service between Newburyport and Salisbury
  • Double service frequency, together with the #17, between downtown Salisbury and Salisbury Beach along Beach Rd.

2. New 30-minute service: Route 1 will run every half hour on Saturdays from 10:00AM to 5:00PM. (Click here for schedule)

3. New route number and routing: (Click here for schedule)

Route 34 will be route 4.  The new route will provide:

  • Direct service to Lawrence General Hospital
  • Direct service to Prospect Hill, including serving Howard St. both inbound and outbound
  • Direct connection to the #1 at Appleton Square for continued service to the Loop and Haverhill without having to go through Buckley.

The route will no longer serve the MVRTA parking lot, Canal St, Union St (from Canal St to Essex St. and Common St to Haverhill St), Summer St, Newbury St/E Haverhill St (from Summer St to Howard St), Prospect St (from General St to E. Haverhill St), Howard St (from Pleasant St to Allston), Allston St, Marston St (from Ferry St to E. Haverhill St), Ferry (from Pleasant St to E. Haverhill St), Haverhill St.  It will serve Marston St – Marston Medical Center, E. Haverhill (from Howard St to Ferry St), Pleasant St, Prospect (from Ferry St to Swan St), Swan St, Merrimac St/Marston (from Swan St to E. Haverhill St), Union St (from General St to Essex St) and Essex St (from Union St to Hampshire St).  The routing will be as follows:

  • Outbound: L- Common St, L-Newbury St, R -Garden St, O -cross over Union St to General St, L-to enter Lawrence General Hospital to the main entrance, L-General St, R-Prospect St, L-Marston St, L-Ferry St, L-Pleasant St, R-Howard St, R-E. Haverhill St, L-Ferry St, R-Prospect St.
  • Inbound: R-Swan St, O-East St, R-Merrimack St, R-E. Haverhill St, L-Howard St, L–Pleasant ST, R-Ferry St, R -Marston St, R-Prospect ST, L-General St, R-to Lawrence General Hospital to the main entrance, R-General Street, L-Union St, R-Essex St, R-Hampshire St, R–Common St, to Buckley.

4. Routes 51, 54 and 57 will be substituted for routes 17, 19 and 20

5. Route 85: Service hour will coincide with the hours that the Lawrence Senior Center is open, beginning 20 minutes before the Senior Center opens and ending 30 minutes after the Senior Center closes (Monday – Friday from 8:00AM to 5:00PM.  It will no longer run on Saturday). (Click here for schedule)

This bus will no longer serve Lowell St., Pelham St. or Mystic St. on the Inbound, starting Monday, January 9. This change will allow us to provide a more direct and efficient service.

  • Outbound: – no changes –
  • Inbound from Broadway after servicing Village Mall: will stay on Broadway all the way to Essex Street.

The following change will be implemented on Saturday, January 7, 2023 for Route 85 – Lawrence Downtown Shuttle.

This bus will run every 30 minutes on Saturday and it will no longer be interlined with route 37.  The hours of operation will remain the same (8:00 am – 6:00 pm).

Good News Lawrence!

***NEW 30 MINUTE SERVICE***

Starting Tuesday September 6, 2022, all buses out of Lawrence operate every half hour, with departures out of the Buckley Transportation Center on the hour & half hour,

M-F 5:00AM-7:00PM!!!

The Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority (MVRTA) board voted unanimously to go fare-free for all local fixed routes and EZ Trans paratransit services starting March 1, 2022 for at least 2 years.  Fares will still be collected on the Boston Commuter bus.

Latest News

Lawrence, MA.  A fresh splash of color has hit the Merrimack Valley and, perhaps surprisingly, the source is the local transit authority. The first hints of the rebranding of the Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority (MVRTA) as MeVa-Merrimack Valley Transit are the bright new buses, bedazzled in coral, aqua and yellow that can now be spotted along local roadways. MVRTA will officially unveil its new look buses, logo and name at a ribbon cutting event on Thursday, October 20 at the Buckley Transportation Center in Lawrence.

The impetus for the rebranding started over a year ago, when then-newly-appointed MVRTA Administrator Noah Berger and Communications Director Niorka Méndez-Almonte started going to community groups to access where the service was doing well and where it was falling short. Through their conversations, it quickly became clear that MVRTA was invisible to many of their potential riders. As Berger notes, “people who could use our service either didn’t know we were here or thought of us as irrelevant. For many reasons, our vehicles blended into the woodwork—of course it doesn’t help that we have the same color scheme as a mail truck!”

With a goal of increasing visibility and ridership, MVRTA put together a diverse focus group and began asking what the community wanted their buses to look like. Participants originally hailing from the Caribbean and Latin America shared that they were used to colorful, dynamic buses that do a much better job of getting people’s attention. Working with Studio Six Branding, which had been successful rebranding other transit authorities such as the Hop in Boulder Colorado, the focus group, along with additional stakeholders including drivers and riders, settled on a new design and name in May that better reflects the cultural and linguistic richness of the area, with special homage to what makes the Merrimack Valley unique and special. The colors are inspired by housing in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, while subtle ripples and water droplets honor the Merrimack River and abstracted clockfaces mirror the clocks adorning many of the area’s historic mill buildings.

The new name, MeVa, short for Merrimack Valley, was seen as hipper and easier to say than MVRTA. With the tag line “Let’s go/íVamos!” prominently displayed on the buses, the system is especially welcoming to its many Spanish-speaking riders. Méndez-Almonte proudly observed that: “Being Latina, born and raised in the Dominican Republic, I feel connected to the new brand, the cheery and happy colors perfectly reflect the Hispanic culture. I am sure I am not the only one who feels this way.”

The new look is much more than mere cosmetics and supports a dramatic campaign to improve service, including going fare free systemwide back in March, doubling frequencies in Lawrence beginning last month, optimizing routings and adding bus stops. Through September, ridership is up 97.9% since going fare free and growing. Nine of the newly wrapped buses have been plying the streets of the Merrimack Valley since last week and the area has taken notice, as evidenced by posts of sightings on social media as if the new buses were exotic birds. After the initial launch, the authority will continue to work on wrapping the rest of the fleet. MVRTA was established back in 1974 and has had the same look ever since. It is time for a fresh look that reflects and supports a new, responsive and welcoming twenty-first century transit service.

August 22, 2022

MVRTA INCREASES SERVICE FREQUENCY IN LAWRENCE

Lawrence, MA.  For the first time in the history of the Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority (MVRTA), all Lawrence-based bus routes will operate every 30 minutes, all day long, starting September 6, 2022. Historically, MVRTA buses in Lawrence only ran every 30 minutes during peak hours, with hourly service at all other times. For many riders, this proved to be confusing, as they were unsure when buses were running every half hour and when they were running hourly. Keeping a consistent 30-minute service all day long not only makes the schedule easier to understand, it also better reflects the reality that riders need the bus throughout the day and are not likely operating on a banker’s 9-5 schedule.

Since July, all service was only running hourly except for routes #1 and #41, due to a national driver shortage.  Thanks to an aggressive recruitment campaign and a top salary of $27.61/hour, MVRTA has been able to overcome the driver shortage and add new operators over the summer who will be deployed in September. Buses will operate every half hour out of the Buckley Transportation Center on Common Street from 5:00 AM until 7:00 PM on weekdays.  Saturday service will continue to run hourly, from 7:00 AM until 6:00 PM.

With this service improvement, people living, working or visiting Lawrence, Methuen, Haverhill, Andover and North Andover will have more flexibility when using public transportation. MVRTA Communications Director Niorka Mendez noted that “Adding more frequency will not only make our system more reliable, it will also improve the rider experience. Riders will no longer need to check the schedule to make sure they don’t miss the bus and wait for an hour for the next bus—they will know that the bus will show up every half hour.”

Rider Ana Salinas added that “Having the half hour pulse extended for longer hours helps with my time management and makes it that much easier and faster to get around.”

In planning this change, MVRTA worked closely with Lawrence Mayor Brian De Peña, who was very enthusiastic about the improved schedule, noting that the more frequent service will be a great benefit for area businesses: “I applaud the decision that MVRTA made to provide a more efficient and faster bus service in our city. This determination will definitely have a positive impact in our community by making our transportation system even more reliable.”

The new schedule is part of a larger campaign to make MVRTA service more responsive to riders’ travel needs, and be more visible and accessible. Back in March, all MVRTA buses went fare free, resulting in a 71.48% ridership increase.  Starting in April, MVRA began optimizing routings, starting with routes 35, 36 and 37, by making routes simpler and more direct.  As Administrator Noah Berger observed, “the 37 bus used to literally travel in a figure eight, which meant that in many instances, you couldn’t return to where you initially got on the bus. And since travel times are decreased, we are better respecting our passengers’ time.”  MVRTA will also be introducing bus stop signs and, through a grant from MassDOT’s Shared Streets Program, bus shelters, which will remove the intimidation of waiting for a bus. Finally, later this fall, MVRTA will introduce a new colorful bus design and logo that will add to the visibility and attractiveness of riding system.

Media Contact:

Niorka Mendez

Director of Communications

[email protected]

(978) 469-6878  Extension 116

Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority has established its Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) goal for the next 3 years. The goal states 4.5% of contracts for goods and services procured over the next time period will be awarded to registered DBE firms. If you have any comments regarding our policy, please forward them to [email protected] by May 4th, 5 PM. To register as a DBE, information is found at: Apply for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) certification | Mass.gov

If you are interested in being added to the list of DBE vendors with MVRTA, please send your company’s information to Kathleen Lambert, Deputy Administrator and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Liason Officer (DBELO) for MVRTA at [email protected]. It is MVRTA’s practice to post all solicitations on our website under “Doing Business with MVRTA”. Feel free to check this page frequently for information. We look forward to doing business with you!

Haverhill, MA The Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority (MVRTA) board voted unanimously yesterday to go fare-free for all local fixed route and EZ Trans paratransit services starting March 1, 2022 for at least a 2-year pilot. Fares will still be collected on the Boston Commuter bus.  

This pilot is an expansion of the City of Lawrence-funded initiative that has covered fares on three local routes in Lawrence since September, 2019.  The MVRTA will be using federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) and American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for the pilot.

One local champion of the free-fare pilot is Congresswoman Lori Trahan, MA-3, who called “the decision to waive fares for Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority riders a game-changer for folks across the region who rely on public transit for their commutes.” She noted that she was particularly gratified to see the work she is doing in Washington benefit transit riders back home.  “I was proud to vote for the CARES Act last year and applaud the Board for putting funding from the relief package to use helping Merrimack Valley residents and small businesses working to recover from the pandemic,” she said.

Some of the many advantages of a fare free transit system include winning back riders who stopped riding during the COVID-19 pandemic, returning dollars back to the local economy, increased access for people having a hard time affording transportation, faster and more efficient trips, and reduced conflicts between drivers and passengers.  In addition, another factor supporting the budget-conscious board’s decision to go fare free is the high cost and inefficiency of collecting fares. As MVRTA Administrator Noah Berger noted, “for every dollar we collect in fares, we only see less than 24 cents when the fully allocated costs of collecting fares are factored in.”

“I am really excited about this pilot,” said MVRTA spokesperson Niorka Mendez, adding that “going fare-free will attract new riders, increase patronage of our local businesses, offer economic relief to families that rely on our service, and connect people to jobs and other economic opportunities.”