Getting Here: Transportation

Where in the world IS Amherst, Massachusetts? 42 22’ 25“ N, 72 31’ 15”W

Located in the bucolic Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts, Amherst offers an attractive jumping off point for SHARPists wishing to conduct research elsewhere on the east coast or simply to enjoy the natural and cultural beauties of our New England summers.

  • American Antiquarian Society, Worcester: 56 miles / 90 km
  • Harvard: 85 miles / 137 km
  • Boston: 93 miles / 150 km
  • Yale: 89 miles / 143 km
  • New York City: 167 miles / 269 km
  • Tanglewood, summer home of the Boston Symphony: 62 miles / 100 km

Although Amherst has no airport of its own, it is served by Bradley, the regional airport covering the Springfield, Massachusetts-Hartford, Connecticut area, approximately an hour away by ground transportation. 
Boston’s far larger Logan International Airport, approximately twice as far away, has many more air connections, though requiring correspondingly longer travel by ground. We are looking into the possibility of arranging group ground transportation reservations for SHARPists arriving at these two airports. (see below)

Amtrak national rail serves both Springfield, Massachusetts (approximately an hour away from Amherst by bus; about half that by shuttle van or personal auto) and–though only twice a day (once in each direction)–our nearby county seat of Northampton, an easy 30 minutes (8 miles/ 13 km) from Amherst by taxi, Lyft, or Uber (approximate cost $20-25) or personal auto.

Protip: The following sites, hosted by area colleges, provide a convenient overview of transportation options from major destinations: 

Amherst College Transportation Information 
International Students and Scholars | Getting to UMass Amherst

Details below.

By Air

“High Times at the M.A.C.” (Massachusetts Agricultural College: the forerunner of the University of Massachusetts), 1915 fantasy postcard featuring the iconic Old Chapel

Bradley International Airport, Hartford-Springfield

The closest air link is the somewhat misleadingly named Bradley International Airport (Hartford-Springfield), with connections to many US cities and major airport hubs. At present, Ireland’s Aer Lingus provides the only direct transatlantic international service. It offers direct flights to Dublin, and thus also a convenient connection to and from the UK and continental destinations. (Another advantage of this route is clearing immigration during the changeover in Dublin, which can save time compared with larger and busier airports on either side of the Atlantic.) For Canadians, Hartford has direct connections to Montreal and Toronto. In fact, travel between Hartford and London, Paris, and other European destinations via Montreal can also be a convenient and cost-effective option (again, with advantage of expedited progress through immigration).

If you are flying to Boston, you may wish to book a connecting flight to Bradley.

Ground transportation to and from airport

Bradley is approximately 46 miles / 74 km from the University. There is no bus service to our region of Massachusetts, but Valley Transporter offers shuttle service by van (reservations required), and there are also ample car rental opportunities.

Note: You can make individual shuttle reservations, but it may be possible to arrange for cheaper group bookings. Valley Transporter, for example, has discounted totals for groups of at least three. (Let us know if you need help: sharpamherst at gmail dot com. )


Logan International Airport, Boston

A greater number of national and international flights come in to Boston’s Logan airport, the primary airport for New England. Naturally, because Logan is approximately twice as far from Amherst as Bradley, this choice requires correspondingly longer ground transportation time.

 Information on International Arrival and Departure
(including basics on visas and customs; for details, see our FAQ page)



Ground transportation to and from airport

Direct from Logan Airport

Bus
Peter Pan bus is the simplest and cheapest option, which costs anywhere from around $34 to $44 per person one way depending on time and date (about $96 round trip). 

Logan Airport departures

Note: in order to reach Amherst in time for opening events on 15 July, you would need to leave Logan Airport on the 11:00 bus. Due to the number of stops on the route, the trip takes about 4 hours and 10 minutes.

Buses arrive at both Amherst Center and the University of Massachusetts. Note: the UMass bus stop is approximately .6 miles / 1 km from the Campus Center Hotel (map/directions) and .9 miles / 1.5 km from North Apartments (map/directions).

Transportation by auto or van from Logan takes closer to 2 hours.

Shuttle van
Valley Transporter offers door-to-door service to Amherst.
Prices
Reserve seat

Automobile
Logan Airport Car Rental Center

From Logan Airport via Boston; or if you are already in Boston, proper

Protip: Bus
The simplest and cheapest regular commercial transportation from Boston is via Peter Pan Bus, which, costs anywhere from around $34 to $44 per person one way depending on time and date (about $96 round trip). If you are already in Boston, you would travel to Amherst from  South Station.

Note: in order to reach Amherst (Center or UMass) in time for opening events on 15 July, you would need to leave South Station on the 12:00 bus. Due to the number of stops on the route, the trip takes about 3 hours and 10 minutes. The UMass bus stop is approximately .6 miles / 1 km from the Campus Center Hotel (map/directions) and .9 miles / 1.5 km from North Apartments (map/directions).

To get from Logan Airport to South Station, take the Silver Line (Route SL 1), which is free. (Tips on taking public transportation (MBTA or the “T”)  from Logan into Boston.) 

Shuttle Van

 VanGo offers shuttle by reservation from Alewife Station in Boston. To get to Alewife, take the Silver Line (Route SL 1), which is free, to South Station, then transfer (free) to the Red Line (end station is Alewife). (Tips on taking public transportation (MBTA or the “T”)  from Logan into Boston.) 
Tentative price: around $40 per person if a van of 7 people can be booked.

Update (May 29): VanGo now asks SHARPists seeking a shared shuttle to enter their arrival information directly on the company’s website: select your date in July and enter arrival information.  If they get enough requests (up to 5 days before travel), a van is arranged and requesters can book if they like the timing.

Ground Transportation

By Rail

Passenger rail service is not as prevalent in the US as it is in many countries from which SHARP members will be coming. The good news is that the eastern corridor of the United States is one of the best-developed Amtrak routes.  Additional service to the Pioneer Valley is supposed to begin in 2019. Please check this page for updates as the conference date approaches. (Note: Rail travel here can be convenient and pleasant but domestic travel by air may actually be cheaper, so it pays to do your research carefully.)

Although Amherst no longer has Amtrak service, Amtrak’s “Vermonter” does stop in nearby Northampton, but only twice a day (once in each direction: traveling south around 2 p.m., traveling north, arriving shortly before 4 in the afternoon). The advantage of the Vermonter is that you can travel all the way between Northampton and Washington, D.C. via New York (approximately 8 hours) without needing to transfer.

If one doesn’t mind changing trains and then disembarking in Springfield, Massachusetts, there are more options: major points of connection are New York City and New Haven. Thanks to the new Connecticut Rail Hartford Line (inaugurated June 2018),  service between Springfield and New Haven has increased: an attractive option for travelers coming from New York.)

From Springfield, there are two main options for travel to Amherst:

(1) Peter Pan Bus line, which stops in the center of town at Amherst College and at the University of Massachusetts. Note: the UMass bus stop is approximately .6 miles / 1 km from the Campus Center Hotel (map/directions) and .9 miles / 1.5 km from North Apartments (map/directions).

(2) Valley Transporter, with door-to-door service

Reserve seat

Protip: Rail travel in the US over long distances can be convenient and pleasant but domestic travel by air may actually be cheaper. It pays to do your research carefully. Additional rail service to our Pioneer Valley region began in 2019. 

Amtrak: general information, routes, & schedules
Amtrak and Springfield
Amtrak and Northampton

By Bus

Peter Pan Bus provides regular service between Amherst and other locales in Massschusetts, but also offers service to and from other major urban areas on the eastern seaboard: Providence (including Green Airport), New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Baltimore.

The UMass bus stop is approximately .6 miles / 1 km from the Campus Center Hotel (map/directions) and .9 miles / 1.5 km from North Apartments (map/directions). 

Driving Directions by Car

Directions to Hotel UMass/Campus Center Hotel (use “Locate Us” “Driving” button in sidebar)
Directions to University of Massachusetts North Apartments