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CTfastrak thread

Bill Mocarsky

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Here are some of my observations (with critique) after trying it out Saturday and Sunday.



Has the basic essentials to become one of the best (if not the best) BRT systems in the country. Could put Hartford on the map. Biggest factor here is the dedicated guideway. 


Seems to be well received.


Bigger city vibe not experienced in Hartford before.


Challenges Connecticut’s conservative image.


Ride approaches the smoothness of metros/subways that I am familiar with. Platform docking not always consistent though. Perhaps more experience will minimize this?


Interior of the bus, with its arrangement of seating, handle straps and bike racks gives the feeling of a real rapid transit system. However, CTfastrak system maps were lacking.


Riders would often pull chord (or press button) that triggers the “stop requested” voice so bus will stop at next station. I don’t get it; I thought it stopped at all stations regardless.


Doesn’t take too much rain or snow to make seating under shelters at some stations useless.


Downtown New Britain station could use better pedestrian connections to surrounding area. The Szczesny Municipal Parking Garage is visible a few hundred feet south of boarding platform, but you need to walk to the western end of station and then back around a couple of blocks to get there. If the idea was to make this parking garage a viable option for CTfastrak users, then an effort to make a more direct connection should be made.


CTfastrak sort of falls apart as it reaches downtown Hartford. Instead of gliding into what should be the flagship of CTfastrak stations, the bus stops on Asylum Street about a half block from Union Station. The route continues in a loop around downtown, subjected to the same traffic and pot holes as other vehicles.


Apparently, disruptions on the downtown loop can throw the rest of the line out of sync.  For example, a fire on an upper floor of 777 Main Street caused a 40+ minute gap in service for the 101 (the main shuttle route). The gap was then followed by buses that were a couple minutes apart.


Would have preferred that the 101 route (with its articulated buses) terminate in a proper station. The shorter 30’ buses would then be used as circulators around downtown and Asylum Hill.



I am curious to hear about others experiences.





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My wife and I rode on Saturday. The schedule boards, platforms and smooth ride really did make it feel like a train. Very impressive until we got downtown and were let off on the sidewalk across from the Holiday Inn. We expected to be let off at Union Station. So we walked over to Union Station expecting to find a Fastrack station. There was none. And the employees there had no idea what we were talking about. We went back outside to where we were let off and found others confused as to where to pick up the busway again. Turns out there is no station, no stop or even a sign! You just get on in front of the Holiday Inn. Huge failure here. As Bill said, the flagship station should be downtown for commuters as I expect this to be the busiest stop by a long shot. There isn't even a ticket kiosk like every other station. Ho would you buy a ticket? The stations are so impressive, why in the world was downtown omitted??? I don't see this working. On the way back we got off at Elmwood and had a pizza at pepe's. When we got back to the Elmwood station, another bus didn't come by for 45 minutes despite the schedule board telling us buses were coming every 9 minutes or so. As Bill pointed out, the shelters have a space above the seating, so in the rain, we couldn't even sit but the benches were set. Serious design flaw.

I'm sure the kinks will get worked out but the lack of a station downtown is a huge issue. The system itself it pretty awesome. And will be a huge success.

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