CT Fastrak On The Move

By Jacqueline Stoughton

Representatives of the Connecticut Fastrak program visited Central Connecticut State University last week to give a presentation to students and faculty to explain many fine details about the new busway system that will run from downtown New Britain through downtown Hartford.

“The busway is a critical part of planning for faculties on campus,” said University President Jack Miller in his opening address before the presentation in Alumni Hall. “Of the five cities where students and faculty come from, four of the five are stops on the busway.”

The busway is an essential part of CCSU’s plans to expand its campus into downtown Hartford and New Britain. CT Fastrak will work as an important transportation tool for students. Miller says that since the busway starts at downtown New Britain, passing by CCSU, and ends in downtown Hartford, students will be able to take classes at multiple CCSU campuses without transportation being an issue.

“This is the first rapid transit in the state,” said Brian Cunningham, the first speaker from the CT Fastrak group to present. “The buses will be running every three minutes.”

Cunningham said that the main goals of the CT Fastrak project include providing regional mobility improvements, improving the air quality and reducing the congestion on the CT highways.

CT Fastrak buses will use 25 percent less fuel compared to other operating transit vehicles in the state. These buses will also be able to carry more passengers, therefore costing less money to operate.  The CT Fastrak stations will be equipped with various green features including photovoltaic solar panel systems, LED lighting and will have bike racks available at each station.

Commuters who replace their daily commute with CT Fastrak are predicted to save more than $2,000 per year on motor vehicle use.

“I’m looking forward to this I’m a big fan of public transportation and would love to transition to a no-car lifestyle,” said Arianna Schlegel, a librarian at CCSU.  Schlegel said that although she would love to be able to use this bus system to commute from CCSU to her job in Hartford, she doesn’t think it will be accessible to her since it starts too far from her home.

Although the busway may not be accessible to everyone who desires to use it, Anna Barry, DOT Deputy Commissioner said,

“We’re having meetings to make sure our plans are up to date.”  Nothing is finalized as to where all the bus stops will be located. According to Barry, there is still time to add more stops into the busway route. “We’ve done enough analysis so that we’re comfortable that we’ll have enough service.”

The CT Fastrak program scheduled for its construction to begin in 2012, and service operation is set to begin in February 2015.  According to Cunningham, the overall CT Fastrak program is 40 percent complete and everything is on schedule and on budget as planned.

Correction: This article previously referred to Brian Cunningham as Brian Cummingham