Your shoreline commute may be getting a bit easier. 9 Town Transit (9TT), operated by the Estuary Transit District (EDT), will open a new bus route from Madison to Middletown thanks to a federal grant for transportation projects.
In 2015, nearly 70,000 people rode the shoreline shuttle route with more than 50 percent of riders using the bus for work purposes, according to EDT Executive Director Joseph Comerford. Now the transit system will be able to help get even more people to work.
“The grant we received will provide a new route from the Scranton Gazebo in Madison to Middletown via Route 1 and 81,” he said. “It will have flag stops along the way through the towns of Clinton, Killingworth, and Haddam.”
The new route will be timed to meet the Shoreline Shuttle bus and the CT Transit bus, where free transfers can be made. The system will be the same up in Middletown.
“On the Middletown end, users will be able to transfer to Middletown Area Transit and CT Transit Hartford for free,” he said. “The stops in Middletown include Middlesex Community College, Middlesex Hospital, and downtown Middletown.”
The money for the project comes from a $20 million federal grant designed to improve the flow of traffic, improve air quality, and reduce energy use. Governor Dannel Malloy said that he hopes the grant will encourage more people to use public transit.
“These grants combine two of the most critical issues of our time: transportation and the environment. Growing and modernizing our transportation system in a way that’s beneficial to air quality is absolutely critical,” Malloy said in a press release. “We must keep working to provide a best-in-class transportation system—the future of our state hinges on it.”
Of the $20 million, 9TT received nearly $400,000 to establish and operate the new route, according to Comerford.
“The grant is for three years at a total of $377,504,” he said. “This is 80 percent of the cost of operating the route. The other 20 percent will require a local match. DOT has not provided us details yet, so we do not know how much of that match will come from our town dues.”
While an exact start date for the new route has not been set, a plan is falling into place.
“We do have a draft schedule and route map,” Comerford said. “The schedule has timepoints, but people can stand anywhere on the route and flag the bus down, so there are many more stops that are not listed.”
Tickets for the 9TT transfer may be purchased at the Stop & Shop stores in Old Saybrook, Clinton, or Madison or online. An on-route shuttle ticket cost $1.50 for adults and varies for seniors and children. To purchase tickets or learn more, visit: http://estuarytransit.org.