By CLAIRE GALVIN
Chronicle Staff Writer
STORRS â€” Gov. Dannel P. Malloyâ€™s trip Monday on the new bus route servicing Hartford, Manchester, Tolland and Storrs joins the 32,000 rides taken since the route began in August.
Malloy rode to town to praise the success of the new route, speaking at a press conference Monday afternoon at the Nash-Zimmer Transportation Center in Storrs Center.
The 913 Hartford-Buckland-Storrs Express route has provided 32,000 individual rides since Aug. 13, according to Malloy.
More than half of the passengers took advantage of the stateâ€™s new U-Pass CT program, a service between the state Department of Transportation, the University of Connecticut and the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system.
The program allows students to have unlimited use of all buses and trains within the state. The cost is included in their university fees.
â€śTo bolster our future and create a robust economy, we must invest in our transportation infrastructure and our higher education system,â€ť Malloy said at the conference. â€śThe collaboration between UConn and the Department of Transportation on this route is noteworthy as it provides students and faculty a much-needed public transportation link between the Storrs campus, the Hartford campus and the UConn Health Center in Farmington.â€ť
In attendance at the conference were two UConn students who use the bus to get to class and to their internships: senior economics student Brandon Parris and senior journalism student Caio Goncalves, who interns in Malloyâ€™s communication office as a press intern.
â€śIt is really beneficial for me personally because I take some of my classes at the downtown Hartford campus that opened up this past semester,â€ť Parris said. â€śIâ€™ve noticed a lot more connections between Storrs and the regional campuses.â€ť
Parris said, if he had known about the program earlier, he probably wouldnâ€™t have bought a new car, which made Malloy and others at the conference laugh.
Malloy predicted more UConn students will look for internship opportunities in Hartford because of the bus routes.
Also in attendance at the conference were UConn President Susan Herbst, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and state DOT Commissioner James Redeker.
â€śAs you can tell from the numbers, this was a service that members of the UConn community wanted for a very long time,â€ť Herbst said. â€śA reliable, efficient means of transportation between our stateâ€™s capital and Storrs is an unbelievable amenity.â€ť
Herbst said 9,000 UConn students have taken advantage of the U-Pass.
The 913 bus travels from the Nash-Zimmer Transportation Center, UConnâ€™s Whitney Hall, Mansfieldâ€™s Four Corners, the Tolland park-and-ride lot, Buckland Hills Mall, the Buckland park-and-ride lot, downtown Hartford at Central Row, Hartfordâ€™s Union Station and the CTfastrak Sigourney Street station, where transfer is available to CTfastrak Route 121 to UConn Health in Farmington.
The bus route operates on weekdays from 5:45 a.m. to midnight, on Saturdays from 6:30 a.m. to midnight and on Sundays from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
More information about the route, fares and schedules is available at www.cttransit.com.