WNPR

CTfastrak Trials Service in Hartford Rush Hour

Mar 10, 2015

On board a CTfastrak bus.
Credit Jeff Cohen / WNPR

CTfastrak held its first full-scale test of the new bus system during rush hour on Tuesday morning.

The 9.4 mile bus-only roadway runs from New Britain to Hartford with extended routes to Manchester on one end and out to Bristol, Southington, Cheshire, and Waterbury on the other.

"The CTfastrak system and the services it provides will give people viable alternatives to potentially driving alone on I-84," said Michael Sanders, transit administrator with the Connecticut Department of Transportation, "and encourage people that maybe don’t need to own a car or maybe don’t need to have a second car, to make urban living a little more sustainable."

New Britain resident No’a Roche is one of those people. She doesn’t own a car, and either rides a local bus or her bike to work or out to see friends.

Roche agrees that CTfastrak is a good step toward encouraging a public transit mindset. But she’d also like to see stronger local public transportation investment geared for lower-income workers, the elderly, and disabled. "If you’re not bringing people from their communities to the busways, they’re not going to use it, so we still need a lot of circulation with the local bus routes. It can’t just be fastrak," she told WNPR.

The DOT is estimating that the CTfastrak system will provide 16,000 rides a day by 2030. Cost for the project has been about $567 million. Service officially begins on March 28.