Fran Wilson, Staff Writer
HARTFORD — CTfastrak will be expanded to serve the Connecticut River into East Hartford and Manchester, state officials said on Tuesday.
Governor Dannel P. Malloy recenlty announced that the State Bond Commission will meet next week to vote on a $7 million allocation that will allow the Connecticut Department of Transportation to purchase buses and other capital equipment necessary to expand CTfastrak east of the river.
The bus rapid transit system currently has ten stations along the 9.4 mile bus-only roadway, which extends between New Britain, Newington, West Hartford , and Hartford, partly along abandoned rail line and existing Amtrak rail line. The planned, expanded service east of the river would usethe existing HOV lanes on I-84.
Officials said that extending this service east of the river into East Hartford and Manchester will open access to a better transportation system for residents.
“It’s good for jobs, it’s a boost for business, and it’s a step towards making Connecticut’s transportation system best-in-class,” Malloy said. “By growing this service east of the river, that means service extensions to Pratt & Whitney and Goodwin College, in addition to many of the other large businesses in those towns.”
Earlier this month, officials said that the current CTfastrak system between New Britain and Hartford reached a major milestone, having served one million passenger trips since paid fair service began on April 6.
Overall, the system is averaging 14,000 passenger trips on weekdays, with 9,000 on Saturdays and 5,000 on Sundays.
“Service across the Connecticut River is a natural expansion of the very popular CTfastrak system,” CTDOT Commissioner James P. Redeker said.
State officials plan to complete this expansion by late 2016.