Low-Income Commuters Complain About Caliber of Connecticut Public Transportation

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Pissed off New Haven bus riders came out in force last Wednesday to give Department of Transportation officials what-for.

During the two hour hearing bus riders told officials they are already fed up with the caliber of transportation they depend upon to get around town.

"I've been faced with the necessity of rail service that I know is good," says Michael Castroll of West Haven who rides the J and B buses. "And I've been faced with the necessity of bus service that I know is putrid."

Hannah Schwartz, a retired substitute teacher who also lives in West Haven, says service is already insufficient.

"We've been forced to schlep around all over the city on the bus, waiting for transfers," Schwartz says. "The service is horrendous, especially at night. To me it's simple math. You want more people to ride the bus? You lower the fares and have more buses running."

By law, the DOT has to hold hearings before implementing changes to service or fares.

The New Haven area is facing cuts to seven of its bus lines, and elimination of a shuttle and service to North Branford. All CT Transit fares are expected to go up 10 cents a ride. The Greater New Haven Transit District, which gives rides to the disabled who live far away from bus stops, will go from $2.50 a ride to $2.70.

Michael Sanders runs the city bus division of CT Transit. He says the state needs to plug a $7 million hole in the DOT budget in order to avoid cutting service and raising fares.

"We take the feedback we get into account," Sanders says. "But when it comes down to it, it's money."  

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