Recently, the state Department of Transportation (DOT) announced a series of seven public hearings, (two on the New Haven Rail Line) to gather input on proposed bus and rail fare increases and service reductions. If approved, a rail fare increase would take effect in three phases – 10 percent on July 1, 2018, 5 percent on July 1, 2020, and 5 percent on July 1, 2021, for a cumulative total of 21.28 percent.
As a member of the legislature’s Transportation committee and a long-time Metro-North rail commuter, I am opposed to this outrageous rate rail hike on our commuters without substantial improvements in service. Many constituents in my district of Fairfield and Trumbull have contacted my office and have voiced their dismay at another fare increase at this time. I hope to work to find a bi-partisan solution without these fare hikes being implemented.
A 14.3 percent, or 25-cent, bus fare increase would take effect on July 1, 2018. Rail service reductions would also take effect on or about July 1, 2018; no bus service changes are proposed at this time.
The rail service proposals include significant reductions to rail services on the New Canaan, Danbury and Waterbury branch lines on the New Haven Line, and on Shore Line East. The main line New Haven Line service would largely remain unchanged.
The implementation of any service and fare changes are subject to public input and contingent on action by the General Assembly to ensure the long-term solvency of the Special Transportation Fund which is supported by the gasoline tax and other revenues, and pays for CTDOT operations.
At these hearings, CTDOT will provide information and accept public comments about the fare and service proposals and the Service and Fare Equity Analysis (SAFE). The SAFE process evaluates the proposed changes to determine if they will cause a disparate impact on minority populations or a disproportionate burden to low income populations. The SAFE analysis and additional details on the fares and service cuts will be published at www.ct.gov/dot/farecomments as they become available.
The following is the schedule of public hearings.
Tuesday, February 20, 2018 – 5 pm to 8 pm
New Haven Hall of Records, Room G-2
200 Orange Street
New Haven, CT
(Snow date: Monday, March 5, 2018 – 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm)
Tuesday, February 27, 2018 – 5 pm to 8 pm
UCONN Stamford Campus Auditorium
One University Place
Stamford, CT 06904
(Snow date: Tuesday, March 6, 2018 – 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm)
The public comment period for the proposed service and fare changes will run from February 16 through March 9, 2018. CTDOT encourages all members of the public and transit and rail riders to participate in one or more of the scheduled public hearings and/or submit written comments to COMMENT ON PROPOSED FARE AND SERVICE CHANGES, Connecticut Department of Transportation, P.O. Box 317546, Newington, CT 06131-7546 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
CTDOT will review and consider all comments received during the public comment period and take those comments into consideration when approving the final service and fare proposal.