SOUTHINGTON — The Capitol Region Council of Governments is recommending a phase three bus service plan for the town.
The phase three plan provides coverage through the town center to Plantsville Park and along West Street. A phase one plan would have provided more limited service.
At a Town Council meeting two weeks ago, George Pohorilak, treasurer of the town’s Commission on Disabilities, presented a commission survey calling for public transportation and requesting the town’s support.
The Capitol Region’s Council of Government recommendation stems from a study it conducted on regional transit services. It identified a need for transit services in Southington, which has not had bus service since 1969. The final decision to implement the bus service comes from the state Department of Transportation.
“Our focus was on identifying a service coverage area that we felt would best respond to the transit needs within the study area towns —Berlin, Bristol, New Britain, Plainville, Southington,” said Cara Radzins, principal transit planner for CRCOG. “Representatives from CTDOT and their transit operators were involved throughout our study and have been given full access to our analysis and recommendations.”
Radzins said as far as she knows, the DOT has not included the Southington service extension in their current budget.
Town Council Chairman Christopher Palmieri said earlier this week that he had not heard of a pressing need for bus service. But Pohorilak and the Commission on Disabilities said the town’s disabled community wants bus service.
The town currently has a Dial-A-Ride program for seniors, but its hours are restricted.
“The limited services offered by the Calendar House and the United Way are vital services but each falls woefully short of serving the disabled residents of Southington,” Pohorilak told the Town Council.
Calendar House Executive Director Robert Verderame backs public bus service in town, particularly on the weekends when the Calendar House vans are not available.
The CRCOG study also identified low income residents in town who could benefit from bus service.
Janet Mellon, director of Southington Community Services, said she hasn’t heard any transportation concerns for her clients.
“Most of the people have cars,” Mellon said.