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10 ways to get to a more vibrant central Connecticut

 

A vibrant community is a livable community. One that connects people to everything they need – jobs, housing, business opportunities and health care centers—making their lives better and easier. As of March 28, 2015, central Connecticut has exactly that. Introducing CTfastrak. CTfastrak is Connecticut’s first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, providing state-of-the-art transit service on a bus-only, traffic-free roadway. This valuable system will does so much more than reduce congestion along I-84. It has become an economic engine that will drive central Connecticut to a more vibrant community.

1. Reduced transportation costs

Between high prices for gas, insurance and downtown parking, everyday driving can get expensive. On CTfastrak, riders can avoid these costs. A trip costs the same regular low fare as CTtransit buses—currently $1.50 local fare and distance-based $2.70 to $5.15 express fare. CTfastrak saves money in other ways too. With fewer cars on the road, there are fewer emissions and less wear and tear. Which means less money spent cleaning up air and highways, and more money spent where people need it most.

2. Expanded regional access

Using CTfastrak, passengers travel between New Britain and Hartford in 20 minutes. Express buses from Bristol, Waterbury, Cheshire and Southington use the bus-only roadway to get downtown faster, while circulator and connector routes allow passengers to get to and from destinations within nearby communities. Working together to create a fast-paced network that connects communities and provides a variety of people with easy access to jobs, dining, shopping, health care, education and entertainment throughout the region, including:

  • Major downtown employers, like Aetna, Travelers and many others
  • Central Connecticut State University
  • UConn Health
  • Westfarms Mall
  • St. Francis and Hartford Hospitals
  • Buckland Hills area
  • Bushnell Park
  • XL Center


3. State-of-the-art transit

CTfastrak is more than an innovative solution to a complicated traffic congestion problem. The system incorporates many state-of-the-art technologies designed to provide an efficient, convenient, user-friendly and eco-friendly transportation alternative. CTfastrak includes:

  • Level boarding, so passengers do not have to step up to get on the bus. This speeds up the boarding process for efficient travel and passenger convenience, and also makes it easy for bikes and people who use wheelchairs to get on board.
  • Free WiFi for all CTfastrak bus riders.
  • Pre-pay ticket vending machines at stations, with smart ticketing technology to be offered in late 2015.
  • Real-time bus arrival signs at each station so that riders can wait with greater confidence.
  • A network of closed-circuit television-based security systems, monitoring stations for safety and efficiency.
     
     

4. More customers for local businesses

By improving travel options throughout the region, CTfastrak makes it easier for more people to connect and enjoy local businesses. This new transit system delivers new customers right to their doorsteps, allowing businesses to grow and providing more jobs and opportunities throughout the region.

5. Easy access to jobs

Because people are able to use CTfastrak to reach a variety of regional locations, they may also be able to consider job opportunities that are farther from home—ones they might not have been able to reach without CTfastrak. This means that growing businesses will be able to recruit from farther away, too. Employers can find the right people, and people can find their perfect jobs.

6. Economic development opportunities

Across the country, Bus Rapid Transit systems help communities and their residents prosper. Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) occurs when new businesses and properties are built around stations where people can easily access transit. Typical of TOD, millions of dollars in private investments are already being made in communities around CTfastrak stations. For example, a New York City developer known for commercial and residential projects in Manhattan purchased the only highrise in downtown New Britain for $2.8 million. In Hartford, major residential and mixed-use developments will help bring new residents downtown, including an $80 million high rise on Main Street and a $50 million residential/retail project on Pearl Street. These are just two examples of how CTfastrak is spreading economic vitality across central Connecticut.

7. Stress-free travel

CTfastrak riders can leave their travel worries behind. The bus-only road avoids congestion on I-84 and local roads, helping people connect with work, health care and shopping quickly, without having to deal with the frustrations of driving and parking. The system is easy to use, too. Transit stations feature pre-pay ticketing technology that allows riders to purchase tickets before the bus arrives so they can board the bus through any door. Because buses are tracked by GPS, real-time bus arrival signs keep passengers accurately informed so they can plan accordingly. Once on board, riders can relax and enjoy their trip, taking advantage of free WiFi instead of facing the stress of driving on congested highways.

8. Environmental friendliness

A projected 16,000 rides per day on CTfastrak’s hybrid diesel electric buses by 2030 will take many drivers off of I-84 and other local roads. Without as much traffic, these roads become less congested with reduced wear and tear. Pollution is reduced, too. Plus, CTfastrak inspires sustainable travel, with bike accommodations at beautiful, park-like stations and on board. The system is also helping to clean up Connecticut’s water by creating wetlands as habitats for local wildlife.

9. Recreational trail

Vibrant cities are healthy cities, but for many, it may be hard to find a good time or place to exercise. CTfastrak includes a beautiful five-mile recreational trail that runs along the bus-only roadway between New Britain and Newington. The trail serves as a recreational asset and provides an additional means of getting to stations. By serving more than CTfastrak passengers, the trail enhances the livability of communities along the corridor, becomes a recreational destination, and encourages healthy living.

10. Improved neighborhood livability

Across the nation, communities are experiencing the benefits associated with livable communities, with features that improve the health and well-being of residents through better-built environments. So, what leads to a more vibrant, livable community?

  • Non-auto-centric travel options, including mass transit, biking and walking
  • Healthy, dynamic neighborhood centers
  • Environmental friendliness
  • A variety of housing options throughout neighborhoods
  • Easy access to popular destinations
  • Multigenerational appeal


CTfastrak enhances the region in many ways—improving livability and transforming central Connecticut, helping to make it the place that everybody wants to be!