The central Connecticut bus-only corridor, CTfastrak, is set to open on March 28.
April 26, 2016 01:11AM
After 15 years of planning and three years of construction, CTfastrak officially turned 1 on March 28, and the road to this point has not always been smooth.
All along, CTfastrak critics have said the 9.4-mile New Britain-Hartford busway operated by Connecticut Transit was a supreme waste of time and money (an estimated $567 million.) And CTfastrak’s yearly operating costs of $17.5 million, which is substantially higher than was anticipated, certainly did nothing to change the mind of naysayers.
While we can debate whether CTfastrak is worth the investment, or if it will spur the economic growth Gov. Malloy predicts it will, there’s no doubt that a great many residents are utilizing the service. This is a positive thing.
According to CTfastrak.com, “Weekday passenger trips now average between 12,000 and 16,000 trips, doubling the previous daily ridership in the corridor.”
CTfastrak celebrated its millionth rider on Sept. 15, 2015, and 99.4 percent of passengers are playing by the rules of the road; paying the required fares.
CTfastrak touts the “new connections” the service provides riders. “By opening up new access to jobs, healthcare and shopping, while saving previous transit customers significant travel time by offering direct and frequent travel, and attracting a significant number of new customers, CTfastrak has delivered on its promises.”
And more connections likely are on the horizon. On April 19, the Connecticut Department of Transportation announced plans to expand CTfastrak in communities east of Hartford beginning in August 2016.
Soon before that announcement was made, on April 17, hundreds of runners navigated the entire 15 kilometer CTfastrak rout as part of the second annual CTfastrak 15K and Relay.
Yes, CTfastrak has been in the news for all the right reasons as of late.
Marking the first anniversary of the bus service last month, Malloy said, “This is a system that is no doubt helping local economies and one that is no doubt going to help us grow.
Year One was a clear success as ridership soared. But we must continue to look forward — not backward — and to view this project as just the beginning.”
Malloy, who certainly could use some good news to tout at the moment, is happy to gush about CTfastrak. And he has a right to be proud.