SOUTHINGTON — There’s support but also a host of questions about a proposed bus line that first reaches businesses near Plainville on Route 10 and could later bring riders farther down the state road and into Plantsville.
Eliminating a Bristol-to-New Britain bus line made redundant by CTfastrak allows the state to expand bus service into Southington at no extra cost. Cara Radzins, principal transit planner with the Capital Region Council of Governments, said her group conducted the study that recommends bus service for Southington.
“It helps both residents and people who want to come into town,” Radzins told the Town Council at a presentation Tuesday.
The study conducted by the regional group was finished in 2016. In its first phase, bus routes would be realigned to expand coverage to towns such as Southington. A bus would travel from Plainville to a stop in or near the Bob’s Furniture plaza.
The second phase would require more transportation funding but bring buses to the south end of town, according to Radzins. Those buses, proposed route 542, would run every hour.
With the expansion of bus routes, paratransit for the elderly and disabled would also increase.
George Pohorilak, treasurer of the town’s Commission on Disabilities, said the bus line and accompanying paratransit buses could help hundreds of Southington residents who don’t drive.
“It’s a high priority,” he said. “The number one issue for the disabled in town is transportation.”
Councilors had questions about the traffic impact of buses and whether or not there would be riders to sustain the service.
“I need facts, I need stats,” said Victoria Triano, Republican council minority leader. “In concept I think it’s great. But I’m very concerned that we have enough riders to make this thing work.”
Radzins said the state DOT would study the traffic impact of buses but that people riding a bus take up less room on the roads than the same number in cars. The bus line was still very far from being implemented and there were public hearings and other studies done by the DOT before proceeding.
“That would need its own in-depth discussion and analysis,” she said.
The bus stop might be in the plaza if property owners agree or by the state-owned road.
RK Centers of Needham, Mass. own the plaza. A call left with a representative of the company was not returned Wednesday.
John Senese, a local developer, couldn’t see a downside to bringing bus service to Route 10.
“I don’t think it’s a bad thing,” he said. “It would actually benefit the area.”
Senese has developed businesses just south of the Bob’s Furniture plaza on both sides of the state road. Those include an Aldi’s Supermarket, Mission BBQ and a AAA building under construction.