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03/01/2023 08:00 AM

Reductions Are Not Acceptable

Shore Line East (SLE) rail service is essential for our community. It provides transportation for those that do not have a personal vehicle and is a conduit for tourism and business to access the shoreline community easily. SLE is a significantly cleaner and more efficient mode of transportation than personal vehicles. This is important for our community, which is along one of the most polluted and congested portions of I-95 in the country. Additionally, without rail, the State cannot meet its environmental goals.

Unfortunately, the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CDOT) has been operating SLE at only 66% of pre-COVID service. Now, the governor has proposed a budget that further reduces SLE to 44% of pre-COVID service. That’s a 56% reduction in rail service to the shoreline community. While CDOT points to low ridership as justification for this major reduction, anyone who has tried to ride SLE recently knows that the schedule is so reduced and poorly designed it almost never makes sense to ride unless you have no other choice. Peak service has 1.5 to three-hour gaps, and off-peak service can easily leave commuters stranded for three to five hours. With a reduction of 56% of SLE service, it will almost never make sense to ride SLE. CDOT’s schedule design is intensely prohibitive to increasing ridership. Without more service and, importantly, a more thoughtful schedule design, ridership will not increase. Guilford commuters: contact our elected officials and let them know more reductions to SLE are not acceptable. We need SLE service fully restored, not further reduced.

Blaize Levitan