Nine municipalities and transit districts will pilot an on-demand, shuttle service with $19.5 million in state funding that would connect riders between transportation hubs such as train stations and bus stops and their ultimate destinations.
The shuttles are intended to lessen the dependence on the motor vehicle and encourage the use of mass transit alternatives. In addition, the shuttles can serve people who don’t have access to motor vehicles and make it easier to get to destinations.
Riders seeking to use the shuttles would make a request by a smartphone app or telephone call. The shuttles — with perhaps seven or nine seats — would be owned locally, carrying individual names and promoted with distinct marketing plans. Fare schedules are expected to be set by towns, cities and transit districts.
The first shuttles — announced Monday by Gov. Ned Lamont and Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner Garrett T. Eucalitto — are expected to launch in the spring of 2024. The pilots are expected to last for two years with the potential for two, one-year extensions by the Connecticut Department of Transportation, based on performance and ridership.
The nine grants are going to:
♦ Estuary Transit (River Valley Transit): Three pilots serving Madison and Guilford, and portions of East Hampton and Middletown.
♦ Greater Bridgeport Transit: Serving Trumbull
♦ Greater Hartford Transit: Serving Enfield and portions of East Windsor
♦ Milford Transit: Serving Milford
♦ New Haven: Serving Hill, West River, Dwight, Edgewood, Beaver Hills, and West Rock neighborhoods with connections to existing transit services
♦ Norwalk Transit District: Serving Norwalk
♦ Southeastern Area Transit (SEAT): Serving portions of Stonington, Mystic, Noank and Waterford
♦ Stamford: Serving a five-mile boundary within the city
♦ Valley Transit District: Serving the Ansonia Train Station, Derby, and Shelton areas
“It’s a designated service area, so it’s not going to pick you up at your front door unless you are in a [transit-oriented development] area,” said Josh Morgan, a DOT spokesman, said. “Having it be on-demand so it is picking up a couple of people that may be going to same spot and that’s exactly the point. The train doesn’t stop right where people need to go and the bus doesn’t stop directly where people need to go This service can get them there, whether its a doctor’s appointment, going out to eat or seeing a movie.”
The service was created by the state legislature in 2022 to address the so-called “last mile” needs. The shuttles are one approach bridging the larger transportation hubs and ultimate destinations.
One component of the recently-released Greater Hartford Mobility Study also addresses the need to improve the transition between transportation hubs and highway travel into town and city neighborhoods.
Kenneth R. Gosselin can be reached at [email protected].
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