First of CT Fastrak buses arrives

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH)–Is it a boondoggle or blessing for Central Connecticut? The New Britain to Hartford busway now known as CT Fastrak is nearing completion. It’s scheduled to be up and running in a little over six months.

The first of 48 new hybrid buses at an average price of over $500,000 each has arrived for the new bus only highway.

The main station in downtown New Britain is nearing completion on the half billion dollar bus expressway that some believe is a boondoggle that will never attract enough riders to justify it.

“They’ve got a bus already from New Britain to Hartford. A dollar-25 round trip, twice an hour and it’s carrying a dozen people at a time. What are we going to do with twenty of them an hour, 16 hours a day?” asked Republican State Senator Joe Markley of Southington.

But the Governor and his transportation commissioner believe that there are already signs that these modern buses with high tech ticketing and wi-fi plus feeder bus lines from Cheshire, Bristol and Waterbury will be a big hit with people that want to avoid the always congested I-84.

“We’ve seen particular support among businesses, university communities, health communities, for this and I expect we’ll exceed our forecast for this project from a ridership point of view,” said D.O.T. Commissioner James Redeker.

And the former Republican Mayor of New Britain, who has been advocating for this since the start, says that the mostly Republican opponents of CTFastrak just don’t get it.

“This is an attraction unlike the regular bus service in communities where it’s going to take you from inner city to inner city but there’s a lot of stops along the way, so it’snot like going from Main Street in New Britain to Burrit Street in New Britain,” Timothy Stewart said.

The Connecticut Department of Transportation is forecasting that this service will attract more than 16,000 riders daily within 15 years. That’s double the current bus ridership.

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