Five College News

New releases and other announcements from Five Colleges.

All Five College Buses will Operate in the Fall 2023 Semester

See details of Five College bus routes

August 28, 2023: Each of the regular Five College/PVTA bus runs will be operating during the fall 2023 semester. Students and employees of the Five College campuses–Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith Colleges, and UMass Amherst–may ride these buses fare-free when classes are in session. Members of the public may ride any PVTA bus, with the exception of the 39E between Mount Holyoke and Smith, which is privately contracted. Most PVTA buses will charge a fare to anyone who does not have an ID from a Five College campus. 

The following are the Five College/PVTA buses, with the routes they cover and the dates they operate. For route schedules, visit Keep in mind that PVTA posts upcoming schedules on the day service begins. Additional details and updates regarding Five College/PVTA buses can be found at

The B43: Smith - Hampshire Mall - UMass - Amherst
The B43 runs between Smith, UMass, and Amherst, with stops at the Hampshire Mall in Hadley. It runs all year, and is free to those with an ID from a Five College campus during the academic year beginning September 3, 2023. Outside the academic year and during winter break, the fare is $1.50. 

The 38: UMass - Amherst - Hampshire - Mount Holyoke
The 38 runs between UMass, Amherst, Hampshire and Mount Holyoke. It is free to all when it runs, and it runs only during the academic year, beginning September 5, 2023.

The 39: Smith - Hampshire - Hampshire Mall
The 39 runs between Hampshire and Smith Colleges on weekdays, and between Hampshire College, Smith College, the Hampshire Mall and Mountain Farms Mall on weekend evenings. It runs only during the academic year, and service begins September 6, 2023.

The 39E: Mount Holyoke - Smith Express
The 39E is an express run between Mount Holyoke and Smith Colleges, running during the day during the week when classes are in session. It is free and only available to riders with an ID from a Five College campus. Service begins September 6, 2023.

The R29: UMass - Amherst - Hampshire - Mount Holyoke - Holyoke Mall - Springfield
The R29 runs year-round between UMass and the City of Holyoke Transit Station, with stops at Amherst, Hampshire, and Mount Holyoke Colleges. It also has stops at the Holyoke Mall, and at Union Station in downtown Springfield. It is free during the academic year to those with an ID from a Five College campus. Outside the academic year and during winter break, it costs $1.50. Fare-free service begins September 5, 2023.

Buses leading to and from UMass
UMass Transit operates a number of PVTA buses that travel within its campus and between its campus and such surrounding communities as North Amherst, Sunderland, and Belchertown. These buses are free to all riders and operate only when classes are in session. See all UMass Transit Bus Routes.

Federal Agency, Five College Consortium, and Local Partners Conduct Exercise to Keep Community Safe

Aug. 2, 2023 The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Five College Consortium, and local partners held a tabletop exercise on August 1 to test incident response efforts focused on a hypothetical natural disaster incident. The multi-agency event focused on coordination between public and private sector partners, incident response and recovery efforts, and business continuity operations following a severe weather event affecting Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and UMass Amherst.

Dozens of representatives from multiple organizations, government agencies, and the community practiced organizational response, shared best practices, and worked to improve coordination to help keep the community safe.

“Five Colleges and our member campuses have a long history of collaborating with our host communities to prepare for natural disasters and health emergencies,” said Five College Executive Director Sarah Pfatteicher. “Those long-standing relationships bore fruit during the COVID-19 pandemic, as we were able to quickly and easily reach out to community partners to share information and coordinate our responses. Exercises like this with CISA help us build on those relationships to respond effectively to emergencies.”

Tuesday’s exercise provided invaluable feedback for each participating emergency response team due to its complex scenarios. Participants tested responses to multiple cascading threats making the multifaceted event a challenge for all involved.

“In today’s complex security environment, it is essential that organizations not only build contingency response plans but that they regularly work in partnership exercising such plans,” said CISA Region 1 Director Matt McCann. “The collaboration between the Five College campuses and the multiple agencies engaged in this exercise will only serve to enhance the community’s resiliency to any future incident.”  

CISA works with municipalities, sports leagues, critical infrastructure partners, schools, and other organizations around the country to develop and exercise response plans for all potential threats in today’s complex security environment. CISA participates in approximately 30 exercises a year, and the agency has staff strategically positioned throughout the U.S. to advise on ways to enhance security and resilience. Additional resources and tools are available on the agency’s website.