Haverhill MVRTA Buses to Begin Hourly Service in September

(File photograph.)

Haverhill bus service is improving, but it comes at a cost to taxpayers.

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini said Tuesday Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority (MVRTA) weekday buses will run every hour rather than every hour and a half beginning in September.

“This enhanced weekday service will continue to provide better public transportation for our residents,” Fiorentini said in a written statement.

Cost for more frequent bus runs will be “up to $35,000” during the fiscal year that begins July 1, said David S. Van Dam, Fiorentini’s chief of staff and MVRTA representative. While the state and federal governments subsidize MVRTA, remaining “net costs” are borne by participating cities and towns and deducted from state aid. During the current fiscal year, the state estimated $447,323 would be deducted from Haverhill’s “Cherry Sheet” for regional transit authority service.

The cities of Lawrence and Haverhill and the towns of Methuen, North Andover and Merrimac met and voted to form the MVRTA in the fall of 1974. Service began in 1976 and, eventually, Boxford, Groveland, Newbury, Rowley, Amesbury, Newburyport, West Newbury, Salisbury, and Georgetown also joined the authority. Newbury and Rowley do not receive service.

Last year, MVRTA announced it would, “for the first time since 1959,” provide Sunday bus service on a Saturday schedule on most routes. MVRTA staff include Joseph J. Costanzo, administrator; Mary Ann Bergeron, director of finance; and Priscilla Schiavoni, administrative assistant.

Member communities may vote to withdraw from MVRTA, switch to another authority or elect to receive no service, according to MVRTA.