Clean Air / Press Releases / Transit/TOD

CTfastrak: Transit Advocates Celebrate Launch

Connecticut’s first bus rapid transit system offers convenient, environmentally-friendly service for over 100,000 commuters

Hartford, Conn.—State and regional transportation, environmental, and economic development organizations joined state leaders today in celebrating the official launch of CTfastrak, Connecticut’s first bus rapid transit (BRT) system.

Members of the Transit for Connecticut coalition and other transit advocates attended a ribbon-cutting at the new CTfastrak station in New Britain. Some rode one of the new hybrid diesel-electric CTfastrak buses in a ceremonial first trip along the 9.4-mile route from Hartford to New Britain, which includes 11 stops as well as new bridges, streetscaping, and a multi-use trail. The dedicated route bypasses the most congested areas of I-84 west of Hartford, allowing both CTfastrak buses and regional CTTransit bus service to make the trip more quickly. Local feeder shuttles will make side trips around downtown Hartford and to major destinations like malls, hospitals, and universities.

Advocates praised the project’s benefits for commuters, air quality, and economic development.

“The opening of CTfastrak is a great opportunity for the region and the state,” said Karen Burnaska, coordinator of the Transit for Connecticut coalition. “CTfastrak is part of a multi-modal solution to reduce vehicle miles travelled, increase livability of our communities, and provide workforce access. It will not only get people from New Britain to Hartford, it will provide regional links to West Hartford, Farmington, Bristol, and Waterbury.”

Lori Brown, executive director of the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters, praised the commitment to the project, saying, “After a decade-long effort at the state, local, and federal levels, the completion of this project is a real testament to the impact of public participation in our state’s policy-making, and to the Governor’s ability to get the job done.”

“CTfastrak is the most innovative transit project in Connecticut’s history. From New Britain to Hartford (and towns in between), this bus rapid transit system will provide convenient, accessible, and affordable transportation for people, which in turn will help to support and grow Connecticut’s economy,” said Mary Tomolonius, executive director of Connecticut Association for Community Transportation.

“The system will provide better access to commuter rail services when the Hartford Line commuter services begin next year, and reduce the need for commuter parking at rail stations,” said Amanda Kennedy, Connecticut director of Regional Plan Association.

Lyle Wray, executive director of Capitol Region Council of Governments, noted, “CTfastrak bypasses 60 percent of the freeway congestion in the capital region on I-84 West and a half-mile walk or a short shuttle ride to the route will connect commuters to 116,000 jobs from New Britain to downtown Hartford. This project is a breakthrough on faster jobs access for many in the region.”

“CTfastrak is one of only a handful of true bus rapid transit systems in the nation, and the only example in the tri-state region,” said Joseph Cutrufo, Tri-State Transportation Campaign’s Connecticut advocate. “Just like it has in other cities around the globe, BRT in Metro Hartford has already begun to spur transit-oriented development along the busway corridor, and it will play a critical role in generating economic development in the coming years.”

“The future of transportation in Connecticut is clean, interconnected, and will direct growth toward our increasingly vibrant urban centers,” said Roger Reynolds, legal director of Connecticut Fund for the Environment. “The completion of CTfastrak is a great step towards a transit network that reduces automobile emissions and gets us moving in the right direction.”

CTfastrak opens for public ridership on Saturday, March 28, with the weekday commuter schedule beginning on Monday, March 30. For nine days, riders will be able to try the new service for free; regular fares will commence on April 6. Detailed information about service schedules, fares, and parking may be found at CTfastrak.com.

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Organizational Contacts:

CACT | Mary Tomolonius | 860-693-0398 | mary.cact@yahoo.com

CRCOG | Lyle Wray | 860-522-2217 | lwray@crcog.org

CT Fund for the Environment | Roger Reynolds | 203-787-0646 | rreynolds@ctenvironment.org

CTLCV | Lori Brown | 860-236-5442 | lori.brown@ctlcv.org

Regional Plan Association | Amanda Kennedy | 203-356-0390 | Amanda@rpa.org

Transit for CT | Karen Burnaska | 203-261-9243 | karenb01@earthlink.net

Tri-State Transportation Campaign | Joe Cutrufo | 860-796-6988| jcutrufo@tstc.org

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