RPA has released a "New Britain-Hartford Busway Fact Sheet" that demonstrates the BRT system's value as part of a regional transit network for the Connecticut Capital Region. The fact sheet includes a map of the 9.1 mile busway as well as its planned bus services to destinations along the busway and throughout the region.
The busway will follow an abandoned rail right-of-way from New Britain to Newington, where it will continue adjacent to the planned New Haven- Hartford- Springfield Commuter Rail and terminate in a loop through downtown Hartford. Feeder buses from outlying communities to the west and south will travel on highways or local roads to the busway, where the dedicated route will allow bus riders to bypass congestion on Interstate 84 approaching Hartford. Federal funding approval will come this year to allow construction to commence and to begin operating the new services in late 2013.
The New Britain-Hartford Busway will provide access to the Connecticut Capital Region's core center of employment, downtown Hartford, from communities along its most densely populated corridor. Not only will regional commuter buses have more frequent service and a more reliable route to Hartford, new local service along the busway and feeder shuttles will provide residents and workers in the close-in communities of West Hartford, Newington, and New Britain with more dependable and frequent service than has been available in the past. The service plan has been designed to simplify scheduling and reduce waiting time at key destinations: a bus will depart West Hartford every 3 minutes during peak periods, every 6 minutes from New Britain, every 9 minutes from Westfarms Mall, and every 12 minutes from downtown Bristol where a feeder bus will travel along existing roads until it reaches the busway at New Britain. Express buses from Waterbury, Cheshire, and Southington will also utilize the busway to avoid highway congestion. Unlike a fixed rail system, the busway improves transit for destinations located away from rail rights-of-way that have grown in regional importance over the last 5 decades of car-dependent development. In addition to serving a major shopping center at the junction of two highways (Westfarms), the busway will enable more frequent service and better transfer options for the UConn Health Center along I-84 in Farmington, where Governor Rell has recently pledged $352 million to renovate UConn's medical school and patient facilities. A BRT system also enables more frequent transit service to the region's small cities than would be possible with rail, and will serve a larger share of the region's communities.
The road to transit expansion in Hartford has been a long one: the study selecting BRT as the preferred alternative for reducing congestion on I-84 was released back in 1998, and the push to implement commuter rail to New Haven began with the Capitol Region Council of Government's Regional Transit Strategy in 2001. The coming decade will see these two transformative investments come to fruition, investments which will enable communities to re-orient themselves around transit and will benefit the region with jobs and economic growth.
Download the Fact Sheet and Map