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Innovation, efficiency can boost regional transit systems

Re “Regional transit systems hope to gain from funding bill” (Metro, April 22): Rather than chipping away at vital services provided by regional transit authorities, the Commonwealth should provide incentives for these authorities to embrace innovative, efficient practices, such as using smaller vans rather than more expensive buses where demand allows and investing in GPS tracking so that riders can see where their bus is and plan accordingly.

Most important, these authorities should explore demand-responsive transport during late nights and weekends to further extend service in a manner than doesn’t break the bank. This approach, which is used by hundreds of rural transit agencies nationwide, employs a fixed service area but no fixed routes, catering instead to its ridership’s needs during low-demand periods.

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The Berkshires need not have Boston-level demand to satisfy transit investment. With smart, savvy planning, our regional transit agencies can boost economic growth in all corners of the Commonwealth, from Stockbridge to Boston and everywhere in between.

Andrew L. Kalloch

New York

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