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FAQS

CTfastrak Expansion

  • Are there plans to expand CTfastrak? +

    The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) is planning a multi-year strategy for expanded transit service east of the Connecticut River. The region can’t wait for a full expansion of the CTfastrak system, so we are creating a strategy and timeline for targeted improvements. The end goal is an enhanced system with many of the bus rapid transit features available on CTfastrak. CTfastrak already includes some service east of the river on Route 121 to East Hartford and Manchester via Silver Lane. This expansion will be additional routes to reach more locations east of the Connecticut River. For more information visit our System Expansion page.
  • What areas are included in the expansion study? +

    East Hartford, Manchester, South Windsor, Vernon, Tolland, Bolton, Coventry, and Mansfield (Yes…we mean UConn!)

    Expanded CTfastrak services would target the following markets:

    • •   Existing higher bus ridership corridors to Hartford
    • •   Major regional destinations, such as Buckland Hills, Pratt and Whitney, and Rentschler Field
    • •   Educational Institutions, such as UConn Storrs, UConn Hartford, and Goodwin College
    • •   Existing or new park & ride facilities
    • •   Through routes to take you beyond downtown Hartford without transferring

    Stay tuned! Sign up for updates, like us on Facebook and follow our Tweets!
  • Will there be a new bus only roadway for the expansion of service? Will the high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes east of Hartford become exclusive to CTfastrak buses? +

    No, there are no plans to design and construct a ‘bus only’ roadway at this time, but some smaller capital improvements may be recommended as the study progresses. New routes may make use of the existing I-84/I-384 high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes to improve travel times between the eastern part of the study area and Hartford. The HOV lanes would not be exclusive to buses, but would remain open to other high-occupancy vehicles exactly as they are now.
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System Design

  • What is CTfastrak? +

    CTfastrak is Connecticut's first bus rapid transit (BRT) system. BRT is an innovative, high capacity, cost-effective public transit solution that can significantly improve travel times through heavily-congested areas by using dedicated transit guideways or lanes to avoid traffic and quickly transport passengers to their destinations. By operating in a permanent, dedicated bus-only guideway, while allowing buses to enter and depart the line, the CTfastrak system offers the speed of a rail system with the flexibility of bus service to meet transit demand and provide passengers convenient point-to-point service to their destinations.
  • How does it work? +

    CTfastrak works like a rail line, in its own right of way, separated from all other traffic and with few at-grade intersections. It is more flexible than rail, as the buses can get off at intermediate points or at the end of the line and continue directly to other destinations away from the line. The CTfastrak guideway is two lanes, one in each direction, with bus pullouts at eight of the stations to enable drop-offs and pickups, while also allowing through buses, such as expresses, to pass without being delayed. Express buses access the guideway from a dedicated bus exit ramp off the highway. Buses provide reliably frequent service, with arrival times depending on time of day and station location. Zoom in on the CTfastrak Google map below to see various routes and services in the region:
  • How is this different from existing bus service? +

    CTfastrak serves as the spine of the regional transit system, providing fast, frequent service within the most heavily-traveled area between New Britain and Hartford, and a key transit link to connect multiple routes throughout the CTtransit system. Bus routes using CTfastrak are designed to offer faster local bus trips and one-seat rides to major employment, shopping, cultural, educational, and healthcare destinations. Express buses access the CTfastrak guideway, making travel times from Bristol, Waterbury, Cheshire, and Southington equal to or better than driving. The flexibility of BRT operations allows the transit system to more effectively respond to changing ridership demand and future development within the corridor.
  • What is the project doing about pedestrian access beyond the immediate station area? +

    Although pedestrian access beyond the immediate station areas is beyond the scope of the project, CTDOT is working with regional planning organizations and municipalities to prioritize pedestrian access improvements in the CTfastrak communities. You should see additional connections being made as new projects are built in the station areas. For example, as part of the construction of a new campus police station, CCSU will build a sidewalk to connect the campus to the Cedar Street station sidewalks. Click here to see access point locations to the Multi-use Trail which connects with stations and surrounding neighborhoods.
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Service

  • What are the hours of operation? +

    CTfastrak provides service generally consistent with the hours of operation of the CTtransit Hartford Division. Route service in the Hartford Division begins as early as 4:05am and the last buses return to the garage at about 1:30am. As with existing bus route services, not all CTfastrak routes will run the complete 21 hour service day. Actual hours of service will depend upon demand. There will also be additional late night or off-peak services provided as needed, especially for special events. For schedule information click here.
  • What do I do when I get to downtown Hartford or New Britain? Walk from the station? +

    Buses circulate through the downtown Hartford area after exiting the CTfastrak facility at either Sigourney Street or Union Station in downtown Hartford. In downtown New Britain, access via a transfer will be available to all CTtransit New Britain services.
  • What do the buses do when they get to Hartford? +

    While the CTfastrak guideway ends at Asylum Street; CTfastrak buses travel on Asylum, Ford, Jewell, Gold and Main into downtown, then return to the CTfastrak guideway along Asylum. Some of the CTfastrak buses exit the guideway at Sigourney Street and travel along Farmington Avenue or Capitol Avenue, providing direct service to many destinations along those roads. View the downtown circulator route map here.
  • Where can I make multi-modal connections using CTfastrak? +

    CTfastrak services run seamlessly with CTtransit services, ensuring connectivity between the CTtransit routes and the CTfastrak routes to maximize service opportunities to transit riders. CTfastrak provides connections at the Waterbury train station to the Waterbury Branch of the New Haven Line, allowing rail travel to Bridgeport with connections in both directions to New Haven and to Stamford and beyond. CTfastrak service also connects with Union Station in Hartford for existing Amtrak service and with future New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Rail service scheduled to begin operating in 2016. In addition, CTfastrak shares future station locations at the Flatbush and Newington Junction Stations with the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Intercity Rail service, facilitating and enhancing transit service and transfers between those transit modes.
  • Are other vehicles able to use the CTfastrak guideway? +

    Only CTDOT funded transit services are permitted to use the guideway. These limitations are due to safety and training issues: we have nine stations where one can expect to see pedestrians crossing the guideway, and we also have Automatic Vehicle Location on each CTfastrak vehicle on the guideway so that the Operations Center knows the positions of each and every vehicle on the guideway. We are not ready to add additional through traffic to the mix of the Express Routes and the basic CTfastrak services.
  • Where can I sign up to get alerts about service changes, holiday schedules or other relevant information that may affect my commute? +

    CTtransit is pleased to offer updates via email concerning bus service information that may impact you. Visit their email alerts page to sign up.
  • How many rides does the CTfastrak system provide? +

    Click here for ridership information!
  • How can I participate in the CTfastrak Rewards Program? +

    We have formed unique partnerships with local businesses to offer discounts and incentives for CTfastrak passengers. For information about the various businesses participating visit our Rewards Program page. To become a rewards member, contact us.
  • What kind of adjustments to service happen when special events occur in Hartford? +

    When we are aware of special events that will generate significant ridership, extra “helper” buses may be added to accommodate the additional demand. Sometimes special events require street closings that impact CTfastrak service. To get notifications of all service impacts, please sign up for CTtransit service alerts
  • How do I use CTfastrak to attend XL Center events? +

    From any CTfastrak station, you can take any route 101 or 102 bus toward Hartford. Once in Hartford, these buses loop around downtown. The closest stop to the XL Center is near the end of the loop at the corner of Asylum and Trumbull (outside Hartford 21, adjacent to the XL Center). As an alternative on the way to the game, you may want to consider getting off at the Union Station/Bushnell Park stop (on Asylum opposite Union Place) and walking two blocks to the XL Center. This will allow you to avoid any delays on the loop due to traffic.

    After the event, you can catch a CTfastrak bus at either the Asylum/Trumbull or Asylum/High CTfastrak stops. CTfastrak service runs until after midnight Monday through Saturday. Sunday service for CTfastrak ends at 8pm. Check the schedule for your route for exact time of last Hartford departures. For a map showing the downtown Hartford routing click here. To see all bus schedules on the CTtransit website click here.

    Plan your trip using CTtransit's trip planner or Google Transit. You can also plan your trip and get real time bus arrival information using your Android or iOS smartphone -- download TransitApp.

  • How can I work for CTfastrak? +

    All hiring is handled by individual transit contractors. The bus companies operating in the area are HNS Management with (CTTRANSIT), (New Britain Transportation) and (DATTCO). For employment opportunities, you would want to work directly with them about prior experience needed, etc.
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Riding CTfastrak

  • How do I ride CTfastrak? +

    Upon arrival at a CTfastrak station, glance at the bus arrival signs to see when the next bus to your destination will arrive. Purchase a ticket from a ticket machine (or use your transfer or bus pass). Locate the appropriate platform. Get on the bus, sit down and enjoy the ride to your destination.
  • How much does it cost to ride CTfastrak? +

    The fare to ride a CTfastrak bus is the same as the rest of the regional CTtransit bus system. Local cash fare is $1.50 and express bus cash fares range from $2.70 to $5.15. Reduced fares are available to seniors (age 65 and older) and people with disabilities. Discounts are offered for 3-day, 5-day, 7-day, ten-trip and monthly or 31-day passes. Find out the latest fare information on our fares page.
  • Can I use other CTtransit tickets on CTfastrak? +

    Yes! CTfastrak and CTtransit will accept the same bus pass and allow free transfers between systems. Transfers are valid for unlimited rides on local CTtransit and CTfastrak buses, going in any direction, for two hours from time issued, until printed time and date of expiration. On CTtransit, a transfer is issued at the time the fare is paid upon boarding. For CTfastrak, your ticket purchased at the ticket-vending machine will serve as your transfer.
  • How do I purchase tickets if I am not at a CTfastrak station ticket vending machine? +

    If you are not at a ticket kiosk, you can purchase your tickets via the CTtransit website, at participating Shop & Stop grocery stores, or at the Statehouse Square CTtransit customer service and sales outlet. More details on various fares are available here.
  • How do I access the CTfastrak Wi-Fi? +

    On your mobile device, connect to CTPASSENGER, accept terms and conditions, and enjoy the internet! Once you’re connected, our WiFi landing page offers a number of rider resources for you, including service alerts sign-up, a list of popular destinations you can get to on CTfastrak, TransitApp, a trip planner, Customer Service contact information, the CTfastrak Rewards Program, and our social media links.
  • Does CTfastrak have a smartphone app that shows real time bus information? +

    No, but we do freely make data available. Some private developers that have picked up our data feed include TransitApp, which you can download here.
  • May I bring my pet on board? +

    All animals (other than service animals) must be in secured containers. More information is available via the CTtransit website.
  • I’ve lost an item on the bus, what do I do? +

    For the fastest lost and found service, please call 860-525-9181 Monday through Saturday from 6:30 AM to 9:30 PM and Sundays and Holidays from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM and provide them as much information as possible (bus number, route number and time of day).
  • The Ticket Vending Machine (TVM) is not working. What do I do? +

    Your first option is to try another TVM at the station. It is infrequent that both TVMs at a single station malfunction at the same time. If that is not possible, and you have exact cash you can always pay at the fare box when you board the bus. If you have no cash and had been intending to use credit/debit card to purchase your ticket, please explain the specific situation to a fare inspector and they will not fine you.

    If you would like to report the TVM that is malfunctioning, you can call the number listed in the fare sign above the machine, 860-707-1321.

    We will eventually be offering a new "smart card" type payment system, and mobile payment options are also being explored.

  • What security measures do the stations and the Multi-Use Trail have? +

    The stations have been designed incorporating the principles of "Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design" (CPTED). This is a design approach that deters criminal behavior by designing safer station areas with improved visibility and a more open feel. In concert with this, the stations incorporate the use of video cameras and “blue light” call boxes. Additionally, stations have lighting along the sidewalks, parking lots and platforms.

    The CTfastrak Multi-Use Trail is similar to other trails of its kind throughout the State; lighting and security features are not part of these types of recreational facilities, as they are intended for dawn to dusk use.
  • How do you handle snow plowing, inclement weather and emergency vehicles? +

    The Connecticut Department of Transportation Highway Operations Bureau takes care of snow removal on the CTfastrak guideway. A contractor will be responsible for snow removal in the stations, walkways, and parking areas. Snow is plowed to the side and, if needed, equipment brought in during off-hours to remove snowbanks. During winter storms, total shutdowns of the bus system are very rare. However, both CTDOT and CTtransit Hartford Division make advance notices of shutdowns through traditional media and send text messages and emails to customers who sign up for the messages. For customers at CTfastrak stations, Variable Message Signs and audio announcements are used to keep people informed of weather related delays or pending shutdowns.

    During emergencies, the guideway is available to emergency vehicles responding to incidents on the guideway or at a CTfastrak station. Municipal first responding agencies along the guideway route have been advised of required procedures for accessing the guideway. However, use of the guideway as an inter-municipal shortcut by emergency vehicles is not permitted.

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Parking

  • Do I have to drive to New Britain station to park my car? +

    CTfastrak services are designed to offer a one-seat ride from origin to destination. So if you live in Bristol, Plainville, Southington, Cheshire, Waterbury, Manchester, or other points beyond the end of the CTfastrak facility, you can pick up CTfastrak buses in those communities without driving to New Britain. If you do have to drive into New Britain, reduced parking rates are available in the Szczesny Municipal Parking Garage located at 35 Bank Street, adjacent to the Downtown New Britain station (map here). Parking rates for CTfastrak riders is $3/day or $40/month. Just show your transit ticket to the garage attendant when you leave the garage.
  • How else can I get to CTfastrak without a car? +

    Rapid transit systems are not designed to be drive-in facilities. Many CTfastrak riders are expected to access the system by walking, riding a bike, taking a connecting bus, or getting dropped off at a station. While many users will be coming from and going to stations in the communities near the stations, many other passengers will be coming onto CTfastrak from express buses in surrounding communities, such as Bristol, Plainville, Cheshire, Southington and Waterbury, where there are existing park and ride facilities. Since the buses can get on and off the bus-only roadway, CTfastrak circulator buses can travel into nearby communities, picking up riders and delivering them to major destinations, without the need to drive to a station.
  • How much parking is available at CTfastrak stations? +

    The table below provides a listing of the number of parking spaces per station. For a Google map format of Park & Ride locations click here.

    Community

    Location

    Total Spaces
    (Handicap Spaces)

    New Britain

     

     

    Downtown New Britain Station
    Note: "Kiss and Ride" passenger dropoff and pickup locations on Truman Overpass/Route 71 (map) and Main Street (map)

    Szczesny (Sez-knee) Municipal Parking Garage (weekday discounts with ticket; weekend parking free) 35 Bank Street (map)

    East Street Station

      23   (2)

    Corbin Park & Ride

    227   (5)

    Newington

     

    Newington Junction Station

      27   (2)

    Cedar Street Station

      45   (2)

    West Hartford

     

    Elmwood Station

      27   (2)

    Flatbush Avenue Station

      31   (2)

    Hartford

    Parkville Station

        9   (2)

    Waterbury

    Waterbury/Hamilton Avenue Park & Ride

    178   (6)

    Cheshire

     

    Rt. 70 (Exit 26) Park & Ride

    146   (5)

    Cheshire/Milldale Park & Ride

    118   (6)

    Southington

    Southington/Plantsville Park & Ride

    102   (4)

    Bristol

     

    Lake Avenue Park & Ride

    143   (6)

    Todd Street Park & Ride

    200   (4)

    Manchester

    Spencer Street Park & Ride

    245   (7)

    East Hartford

    East Hartford Park & Ride
    CTfastrak 121 bus stop located .2 mile north on Main Street at the corner of Main Street and Silver Lane

    255   (8)


    CTfastrak parking is not available at UConn Health, Westfarms Mall, Manchester Community College, Stop & Shop or other private properties.

  • Are you going to be providing more parking near stations? +

    The fast expansion of CTfastrak ridership and heavy usage of station parking means we’ve been looking "high and low" for solutions, so that ridership can continue to grow. We have been actively looking for additional parking at stations and are seeking additional park and ride facilities in Southington, Bristol, and Farmington. There are some opportunities to add a couple of spots within our existing station footprints, but these are very limited. Many stations are bound by wetlands, railroad right-of-way, contaminated soils or private developments, making it very difficult to simply expand the station parking. We have identified some parking at adjacent properties that we may be able to use, but these will require some lead time to get agreements in place and complete any upgrades needed for parking use. We thank you for your patience as we continue to look for solutions!
  • Where are the “Kiss and Ride” locations at Downtown New Britain station? +

    There is a designated Kiss & Ride area on the Truman Overpass (map here) where passengers can get dropped off and picked up. A sidewalk alongside the bus-only highway off-ramp leads down to New Britain Station. In addition, the City of New Britain has striped a lane on Main Street designating it for Kiss & Ride (map here).
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Multi-Use Trail

  • Why doesn't the Multi-Use Trail go all the way to Hartford? +

    From New Britain to Newington, the trail shares the existing abandoned railroad right-of-way with CTfastrak. From Newington Junction Station north to Union Station in Hartford, CTfastrak is located next to the existing active Amtrak railroad right-of-way. The width of this corridor cannot accommodate the Multi-Use Trail, the CTfastrak guideway, and the Amtrak rail right-of-way. However, the Capitol Region Council of Governments and the local towns are looking at ways to design and complete a safe bicycle route connecting the end of the CTfastrak trail in Newington Junction with West Hartford and Hartford.
  • Where can I access the Multi-Use Trail? +

    Click here to see Multi-Use Trail access point locations.
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Transit Oriented Development

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