The Connecticut Department of Transportation confirmed the successful start of service of the CTfastrak Bus Rapid Transit system in central Connecticut on March 28 after a decade of planning and a ribbon cutting ceremony on the previous day. Early on Saturday morning, the CTfastrak "Transit Ambassadors" welcomed riders at the new transit stations, in downtown Hartford and on board the buses.
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CT Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker was also a CTfastrak passenger throughout the morning and afternoon as he rode on the main CTfastrak Route 101 and 102 buses and several of the circulator routes. "We had a great first day. Despite the frigid, snowy weather conditions, CTfastrak service ran smoothly and we received some tremendous positive feedback," said Redeker. "I talked with a significant number of people who never rode on a bus before today's start of service. I also met many commuters already using the new service to go to their jobs at UConn Health in Farmington, Bradley Airport via the Bradley Flyer and to downtown Hartford hotels and restaurants."
Aside from a few street travel delays and minor mechanical and technology issues, Connecticut's first bus rapid transit system and its fleet of 48 new vehicles also carried people who just wanted to experience a ride on the new system. "After 13 years of ushering this transit project through its various stages, it's very gratifying to see people on buses enjoying the benefits of bus rapid transit services. As I visited almost all of the ten new CTfastrak transit stations today, I was thrilled to see so many families and individuals checking out the new transit stations and experiencing the comfortable ride of our new bus fleet -- even in the freezing rain and windy weather conditions. Today's response exceeded our first day expectations," said CT Department of Transportation Transit Administrator Michael Sanders.
Through April 5, 2015, rides are free on all new CTfastrak green branded buses and on buses that use the bus-only roadway. Free service includes new CTfastrak circulator routes and the four new or expanded CTtransit express routes from Bristol, Cheshire, Southington and Waterbury. Free transfers from CTfastrak to CTtransit routes are available upon request, but any travel beginning on an existing CTtransit route will require fare payment.
The CTfastrak transit system provides direct service to and from Waterbury, Cheshire, Southington, Bristol, Plainville, New Britain, Newington, West Hartford, Hartford, East Hartford and Manchester with routes that take advantage of the bus-only CTfastrak roadway. TcA new 4.5 multi-use trail was built paralleling the CTfastrak bus-only roadway from New Britain to Newington Junction. For information about CTfastrak, visit www.ctfastrak.com.