RECENT GHTD INITIATIVES
Design and Construction of a Paratransit Maintenance and Operations Facility
Currently the Greater Hartford Transit District operates its paratransit service out of a leased facility in the City of Hartford. While that facility is adequate, it does not allow for efficient maintenance and operation of the paratransit fleet. To improve the operation, the District has purchased land on Roberts Street in East Hartford and a consulting team is designing a modern operations facility. The new facility includes separate operations and maintenance areas. The operations area will include a training room, dispatch area, reservations area, scheduler area, copier and storage room, server room, drivers’ break room, lunch room, and management offices. The maintenance area consists of: four maintenance bays, storage area, parts room, mechanic’s room, wash bay with water/oil separator, parking for at least 125 vehicles, restrooms/ locker rooms, and a fueling station. A plan view of the proposed facility is available here. Construction is expected to begin in Summer 2015. As the project progresses, we will post photographs of the construction.
Development of a Transit Center at Union Station
In an effort to more fully integrate Union Station with local CTTRANSIT bus service, the District is constructing a local bus Transit Center on the northeast side of the station. Located on Union Place, the Center will be the new downtown terminus for local bus routes from east of the river. It will provide improved passenger waiting facilities, both indoor and outdoor, and will help to facilitate transfers between local bus and rail and intercity bus. The Center will include an electronic destination sign for all the CTTRANSIT routes that stop in the vicinity of Union Station.
Digital signage in the station
Improved passenger information signage will debut in Union Station in Fall 2014. Digital signs will be installed at each bus gate, providing up to date information on bus departure times and destinations. Inside the transportation center, departure screens will list all trains and buses with departure times and gate/platform. The signs will be linked to “real time” information and will automatically update to reflect any schedule changes. A touchscreen information kiosk installed in the Transportation Center will enable visitors to the area to learn about the many places of interest in downtown Hartford.
The Intermodal Triangle Project
The Greater Hartford Transit District is assisting the City of Hartford in the implementation of the Intermodal Triangle Project. Currently under construction, this project will strengthen the region’s economic and employment core by improving downtown intermodal connections and increasing transit access through the downtown area. Ford and Jewel Streets, which border the north edge of Bushnell Park, will be rebuilt with traffic calming features to provide a promenade along the park and to improve pedestrian and bicycle access and safety. Asylum, Pearl and Main Street, as well as Union Place, will be improved for transit and pedestrian use. Improved bus stops and pedestrian amenities will be built. The Union Station Transit Center, discussed above, is a part of the Intermodal project.
Acquisition of alternative fuel buses
The District is committed to exploring cleaner fuel systems to reduce its carbon footprint. Making use of federal and state grants, we have purchased two hybrid electric gas buses and 26 compressed natural gas fueled buses. Monitoring is ongoing to determine how these vehicles perform in paratransit service.
Bike share investigation
The Greater Hartford Transit District and the Capitol Region Council of Governments have been working with a consortium of agencies to investigate the feasibility of implementing a bike share system in the Metro Hartford Region. Bike share systems – like those implemented in Boston, New York City and Washington DC – allow for short term rental of bicycles. The rentals are usually less than ½ hour and the bike is usually picked up in one location and dropped at another. Bike share has the potential to complement the new transit investments that will come online in the next 2 years: the CTfastrak busway from Hartford to New Britain and commuter rail service on the New Haven/Hartford/Springfield rail line. The feasibility report can be accessed here: http://www.hartfordtransit.org/bikeshare.html
Regional Shelter Program
In a partnership with the Capitol Region Council of Governments and CTTRANSIT, Hartford Division, the District is implementing a regional bus shelter program. This program will install bus shelters in the City of Hartford and the Towns of Bloomfield, East Hartford, Newington, South Windsor, Wethersfield and Windsor Locks. Some of the shelters will have advertising panels, which will help to fund the maintenance of the shelters. CTTRANSIT will assume responsibility for the daily and long term maintenance of all the shelters installed through this program. Funding is provided through federal transit enhancement funds with the CT DOT and the participating towns providing the local match.
Increase in Accessible Taxi Availability
Recent studies of transportation needs in the region have identified the difficulties faced by individuals with disabilities when they have to make a trip but do not have the lead time to reserve an ADA paratransit trip, or they need to make a trip outside of ADA hours. For most individuals without access to a car, a taxi can serve these last minute needs. But for an individual in a wheelchair, until recently, a taxi was not an option. Now, federal grant money has enabled several taxi companies to add accessible taxis to their fleet. The District has managed or is managing several of these grants: overseeing the purchase of vehicles for Yellow Cab, Executive 2000 Taxi, and Ace Taxi; and instituting a taxi voucher program for individuals with disabilities who use Yellow Cab and Executive 2000 Taxi.