Added Off-Peak Buses Planned for Old Saybrook to Hartford Commuters

Shore Line East and New Haven Line ridership remains down

Off-peak buses could be running between Old Saybrook and Hartford by Aug. 22 if a proposed transit plan is approved.

The proposed schedule for the weekday Middletown-Old Saybrook Express [921] bus includes the same four morning trips from Old Saybrook to Hartford and adds two afternoon trips, which would leave the Old Saybrook train station at 1:37 and 5:37 p.m.

The departure times for the four morning buses would each be pushed back 22 minutes from their current schedule, an attempt to better align the buses with Shore Line East trains to New Haven and New London.

The proposed schedule eliminates the bus stop at Elm and Main streets for the 921 bus due to low ridership at the stop, according to the Connecticut Department of Transportation. A stop will be added at the Old Saybrook Transportation Center, next to the train station, meant to help connections to the 9 Town Transit buses.

The bus service will still make stops at Silver Street in Middletown and at the Chester, Essex and Old Saybrook park and rides.

The proposed schedule also adds a morning bus from Hartford to Old Saybrook, and adjusts the departure times for the five afternoon buses leaving Hartford for Old Saybrook.

Shore Line East

Passenger rail service, including Shore Line East, will remain on pandemic schedules with reduced service. There could possibly be adjustments to that schedule in the late summer, around Labor Day, according to CT DOT. 

Daily weekday ridership on Shore Line East is still down 90 percent from the 2019 average of 1,985 riders a day. As of May 4, the running one-week average was 199 riders a day, and ridership during the pandemic peaked at 485 riders on July 4 weekend.

Ridership on the New Haven Line and its branches is still down 83 percent from its 2019 weekday average of 134,583 riders a day. The Hartford Line is down 72 percent from the 2,437 daily riders it averaged in 2019.

CT DOT is holding public hearings on the proposed schedules on Wednesday from 6 to 9 p.m., and on Thursday and Tuesday May 25 from noon to 3 p.m. 

Final recommendations for the changes to the bus schedules will go to the DOT commissioner for final approval and would take effect on Aug. 22.

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