State Senator Joan Hartley greets Naugatuck Valley Community College President Daisy Cocco De Filippis moments before an historic ride through the city marking the start of evening bus service in Waterbury. Politicians and community activists have been lobbying for evening bus service in Waterbury for nearly 20 years. The event took place October 24th. Photographs By John Murray

    The expanded hours were made possible through a collaborative formula including state funds and a voluntary fare increase for NVCC riders. President De Filippis and James Troup, dean of administration, met with North East Transportation representatives back in fall of 2008 to establish the College’s concerns. In spring 2010 the transportation issue became a part of NVCC’s Strategic Plan, which prompted the development of a leadership committee in September. To help defray the financial burden, NVCC students voted last spring to install a $10 per semester transportation fee that would account for approximately 17% of the $900,000 annual cost. The remainder will be paid by the state through a federal grant.

   As part of the transportation fee, students are also able to acquire a “U-Pass,” which allows unlimited rides on City buses. Out of the 7,300 students enrolled this semester, 460 have picked up passes.

   “So many people came together and worked hard on this project,” said President De Filippis. “I am fortunate to have community-oriented students and leaders who understand the power of public transportation to inner-city students and the opportunities it brings for pursuing work, education and recreational activities beyond 6 pm. This is a historic moment for the City.”

Waterbury Mayor Michael Jarjura cracked up Cathy Awwad and Bill Pizzuto with a story about a recent incident on the campaign trail. Awwad is the executive director of the Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board (NRWIB), and Pizzuto is the director of the UConn campus in downtown Waterbury.

State Department of Transportation Commissioner James P. Redeker enjoyed the proceedings.

Instead of Driving Miss Daisy, it was the Driver Miss Daisy…..

State Representative Jeff Berger gave some brief comments.

State Representative Tony D’Amelio of the 71st District and State Senator Joan Hartley.