Durham approves merger of area transit districts 

DURHAM — Town officials voted recently to merge two local transit districts for the purpose of improving service.

Estuary Transit District, better known by the “9 Town Transit,” will now absorb the Middletown Transit District, which includes Durham and Middlefield. The vote passed during a special Board of Selectmen meeting earlier this month.

First Selectman Laura Francis said the decision to merge was based on a study funded by the state Department of Transportation.

The study, which began in early 2019, was completed in the fall of 2020. It recommended that the Middletown Transit District and Estuary Transit District merge to achieve a more efficient and sustainable approach to delivering transit service across the Lower Connecticut River Valley region.

The Estuary Transit District currently serves Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook. The consolidation would add Middletown, Middlefield and Durham. It is possible six other Connecticut River Valley towns may be added in the future.

Francis added that the membership fees for the town will not increase as a result of the merger.

“Voting to join the two districts will not increase the membership fees that we already pay,” Francis said during the Dec. 13 Board of Selectmen meeting. “Any costs that are associated with expansion have been funded by the state of Connecticut.”

Any potential fee increases will be voted on by the transit board, on which Durham will have representation.

No existing positions will be lost as a result of the change, said Joseph Comerford, the executive director of both transit districts.

nKorytnikova@record-journal.com203-317-2444Twitter: @n_korytnikova


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