Many Options in Connecticut
There are various public transportation systems available to Connecticut passengers. Read on to learn about the Connecticut Public Bus System, ADA Paratransit services and the GO CT Card.
Public Bus System
Most areas of Connecticut are served by local public bus service operated by CTtransit, Connecticut’s statewide system with eight divisions covering various parts of the state, or through regional transit districts. The services typically run on a fixed route schedule. Reduced fares are available for individuals age 65 or older and people with disabilities.
CTfastrak is a system of bus routes that utilize a bus-only roadway for all or a portion of your trip. This service currently connects Waterbury, Cheshire, Southington, New Britain, Newington, West Hartford, Hartford and Manchester. CTfastrak routes are integrated with the CT transit system, making it easy to connect, transfer, and pay your fare.
The Connecticut Department of Transportation provides regional Accessible Transportation Guides called “Getting on Board” to help participants understand what options are available to them. Visit the Connecticut Department of Transportation – Bureau of Public Transportation to access the guide.
The Kennedy Center Travel Training is a program that teaches people with disabilities and older adults on a one-to-one basis how to properly and safely use the local bus and rail system throughout the state of CT. There is no charge for travel training, the program is grant funded by The Connecticut Department of Transportation.
The public transportation system is available to everyone. Buses offer accessibility features.
Services and Fees
People age 65 and older and people with a disability travel for half fares on public buses. For a one-way trip, the current reduced fare is $0.85. Multi-trip tickets and passes are also available. Eligible customers who use CTtransit (including CTfastrack) can register for a Go CT Reduced Fare ID Card which provides the same discounted fares as a multi-day pass (and offers the added convenience of being a prepaid tap-and-ride card for those who do not want to carry change).
To demonstrate eligibility, individuals can show their Medicare card, or a state-issued Reduced Fare Photo ID. These can be obtained by application from CTtransit and have a $5 application fee.
Credit card or debit card, US bills (up to denominations of $20) and US coins can be used.
Train service is also available in Connecticut. CTrail provides commuter rail service on three main lines: New Haven with service between New Haven and New York City; Shoreline East with service between New London and New Haven and Hartford with service between Springfield and New Haven. Amtrak provides service to 13 cities and towns in Connecticut and easy connections to other public transportation options.
ADA Paratransit is a complement to public bus service and available to those who, because of their disability, are unable to travel on the fixed-route system. The service is available wherever there are public bus routes and operates within a 3/4-mile radius of those routes. Service hours are usually the same as the local bus route.
This is a “demand-response” service meaning that rides must be booked in advance. It is a shared ride service, so the bus may have several stops along the way. All vehicles are lift-equipped and fully accessible and provide door-to-door service. This means that a driver will assist individuals from the door of their home to the door of their destination.
The application process for ADA Paratransit includes a written application, information from a health care provider and an interview. Once an application is complete, it can take up to 21 days for a determination of eligibility.
ADA Paratransit Eligibility Criteria
To use ADA services, riders must be eligible and certified as disabled according to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Certification information and application forms are available through transit district offices available in your region or at the Connecticut ADA Paratransit Resource Center.
Individuals may be eligible for the service if, because of a disability they:
- Cannot independently travel to/from fixed route stops.
- Could use an accessible fixed route vehicle, but the route that would be used is not accessible.
- Cannot independently navigate the system even though they can board the bus.
Services and Fees
There is a $3.50 fare for each one-way trip that can be paid in cash or with a pre-paid ticket or pass at the time of boarding. 10-Ride Ticket Books can be purchased for a discount. Medicare card or state-issued reduced fare photo ID must be shown upon boarding.
In addition to traditional ADA Paratransit, in some areas eligible passengers may also use a discounted taxi-voucher program called Freedom Ride.
Pay exact fares in cash at time of boarding or purchase a reduced fare 10-Ride Ticket Book by mail or online.
The Go CT Card is a new, account-based system that allows customers to deposit funds into a transportation account that can be used to smoothly and conveniently access public transportation. Card holders select the Go CT card option at the fare box and the value of the transportation is automatically deducted from the account. CTtransit and CTfastrak buses are eligible for Go CT Card service. Go CT accounts can be managed online, and funds can be added using a debit or credit card.
Older adults and people with disabilities may qualify for reduced fares with a uniquely issued Senior / Disabled Reduced Fare ID valid only for the applicant. This personalized, non-transferable card replaces eligible recipients’ state reduced fare ID and has their photo on it.
Go CT Card Eligibility Criteria
To be eligible for a Reduced Fare ID, applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Either have a Medicare card or a state-issued photo ID card
- Be 65 years or older or
- Have a qualifying disability
People with a qualifying disability must meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Vision: Must have a central visual acuity of 20/200
- Hearing: If there is no air or bone conduction whatsoever in both ears; or if the person is incapable of hearing sound without the use of hearing aids
- Ambulatory: Must require a ‘walker,’ wheelchair, crutch(es), or a cane, and the condition is expected to continue for more than one year from the application date. People with an obvious or serious disorder of gait that would otherwise interfere with the use of mass transportation may also be eligible.
- Loss of arms
For people with disabilities, applications must be certified by a physician, including their signature, phone number and state license number. People with a temporary disability may also apply for a reduced fare card.
Services and Fees
This version of the Go CT Card always provides the discounted fares older adults and people with disabilities would normally receive with a multi-day pass. The card and the funds on it never expire, so card holders will only have to keep their accounts funded instead of worrying about carrying exact change for the fare box. Reduced fares apply on the CTrail New Haven Line operated by Metro-North during off-peak hours only.
The initial Reduced-Fare Go CT card is free, however applicants without a valid Medicare card will be charged a low fee.
A replacement card may be obtained at a low fee if the card is stolen, lost, or damaged.
Go CT cards may be loaded with funds through cash, check and debit or credit card. Funds can be added to an account online, at a CTtransit Customer Service & Sales Outlet, or at participating retailers. A bank account can be attached to the Go CT transportation account for automatic payment and refills.