Bus rapid transit is coming to central Connecticut.
This week, officials broke ground on a new bus-only route, CTfastrak, that will make use of nine miles of former rail right-of-way to bypass congestion on local roads and Interstate 84. The bus line is projected to cost $572 million, with buses expected to begin running in 2014.
The express service is designed to speed service for 11,000 current bus riders, while attracting 5,000 new riders and taking thousands of cars off the area's roads.
Feeder routes will serve major destinations along the way -- West Farms Mall in West Hartford/Farmington, and Farmington's UConn Health Center, where Jackson Labs and the state will build a personalized medicine research center expected to generate nearly 7,000 jobs. The system also will enable Hartford and New Britain to continue their emphasis on urban development without creating additional demand for parking.
Regional Plan Association is a longtime supporter of the bus line, recognizing its importance as a component of a regional transit system that will include the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield commuter rail line, expected to open in 2016. RPA's 2010 Fact Sheet and Map illustrate the coverage of the BRT network and explain its function and benefits. The BRT and commuter-rail systems will intersect at two points, Newington and Hartford, providing residents with access to opportunities within the region and beyond.
Photo credit: CTfastrak