State Rep. Jeff Berger and State Senator Joan Hartley.
State Representatives Jeff Berger (D-Waterbury), Larry Butler (D-Waterbury), David Aldarondo (D-Waterbury), Anthony D’Amelio (Waterbury, Middlebury), Selim Noujaim (R-Waterbury) and Senator Joan V. Hartley (D-Waterbury, Naugatuck, Prospect) are pleased to announce the Connecticut Public Transportation Commission’s (CPTC) report showing the successful implementation of increased bus hours and ridership in Waterbury.
Waterbury legislators addressed the CPTC at a public hearing last year concerning the need for evening bus service to provide access to second shift retail and manufacturing jobs and to evening classes at Naugatuck Valley Community College.
“This is a life-changing opportunity for the citizens of Waterbury who for far too long have been denied the ability to seek employment and/or advance themselves through higher education due to transportation difficulties,” Rep. Berger said. “This is a defining moment and something we all can be proud of that is a result of everyone working together to improve the quality of life for our citizens.”
“The Waterbury legislative delegation has advocated for this expansion for many months. I’m glad to help those needing transportation for jobs and for local students attending evening classes,” Rep. Butler said. “Another positive development has the bus routes being evaluated to determine how the current service can be improved.”
“This is good news for Waterbury’s residents who need and use public bus transportation,” Rep. Aldarondo said. “Evening bus service is a must for a many people and increased service is welcomed.”
“The delegation worked together to make increased bus service a reality for Waterbury and I’m pleased the ridership numbers have surpassed expectations,” Rep. D’Amelio said. “The ability for people to get to and from work and school is important not only for those using the service itself but also for the Greater Waterbury community as a whole.”
“All statistics have shown that ridership has exceeded expectations,” Rep. Noujaim said. “This is a service Waterbury has needed for many years and I am so pleased that everyone involved in the process worked in harmony to make it happen. I look forward to the service becoming permanent.”
“I’m genuinely pleased with our expanded regional bus service and one feature in particular: those enrolled or who work on the Naugatuck Valley Community College campus can now use mass transit rather than go to the expense of driving and parking their own cars,” Sen. Hartley said. “This spares them the cost of gas and additional wear and tear on their cars and helps the entire city by reducing congestion and traffic-related delays.”
As a result of the Commission’s recommendation, the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) designated a portion of its federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality funding to cover the operating cost of the evening bus service and has made a commitment to provide funding for a minimum of three years. Evening service began on October 24th of last year and ridership has steadily increased to 450-500 passengers per evening, proving need and possibly serving as a model for other municipalities to follow.