Connecticut's State Bond Commission is scheduled to vote next week on a $7 million allocation that will allow the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) to purchase buses and other capital equipment necessary to expand its CTfastrak bus rapid transit (BRT) system east of the Connecticut River into East Hartford and Manchester.
The BRT system currently has ten stations along the 9.4-mile bus-only roadway, which extends between New Britain, Newington, West Hartford, and Hartford, partly along abandoned rail line and existing Amtrak rail line. The planned, expanded service east of the river would utilize the existing HOV lanes on I-84.
"The numbers we are seeing on CTfastrak are surpassing expectations. We're proud of the work we've done, but also know how much more we need to do to transform our transportation system. Extending this service east of the river into East Hartford and Manchester will only open even greater opportunities for people to take advantage of this transit system, in addition to the potential to grow more transit-oriented development opportunities along the line," Governor Dannel P. Malloy said.
Earlier this month, Gov. Malloy announced that announced that the current CTfastrak system between New Britain and Hartford reached a major milestone, having served one million passenger trips since paid fair service began on April 6. Overall, the system is averaging 14,000 passenger trips on weekdays, with 9,000 on Saturdays and 5,000 on Sundays.
CTDOT has already begun a feasibility study to determine the best routes for the extended system into Manchester, utilizing a $500,000 allocation that was approved earlier this year by the Bond Commission.
The CTfastrak 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. It provides a one-seat, no-transfer ride to many major regional employment, shopping and healthcare destinations as well as connections to the New Haven Line-Waterbury branch rail in Waterbury and Amtrak service in Hartford.