HEADLINES

ParkConneCT, fare-free shuttles and enhanced existing transit service to Connecticut state parks and beaches beginning this weekend

Governor Ned Lamont today announced that ParkConneCT, a pilot program launched last year that offers fare-free shuttles and enhanced existing transit service to various Connecticut state parks and beaches, will continue during the summer of 2022, launching on Memorial Day weekend (Saturday, May 28, 2022) and lasting through Labor Day (September 5, 2022).

ParkConneCT aims to connect people to Connecticut state parks and beaches during the summer months to support seasonal employment and promote recreational activity. It is a collaboration of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT).

“Our state parks are one of the best things about living in Connecticut, and connecting our residents to them is important,” Governor Lamont said. “The ParkConneCT program increases access to the physical, mental, and educational benefits gained from spending time outdoors in these beautiful spaces. It can also help people who have seasonal employment with DEEP get to their workplace. I encourage residents to utilize this service and spend time in our parks this summer.”

“So many people have discovered or rediscovered the state parks over the past two years, drawn to the beauty as well as the positive physical and mental benefits being in nature provides,” DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said. “Unfortunately, transportation access can be a barrier that keeps many people from being able to access these wonderful places. This program makes it easier for people to have a fun, rejuvenating recreational experience in some of the most beautiful settings in our state, and it can also serve as a transportation option for some of our valued seasonal staff. Thank you, Governor Lamont and our CTDOT partners for the vision and collaboration on this program.”

“We’re pleased to once again support ParkConneCT this summer season,” CTDOT Commissioner Joseph Giulietti said. “From buses to shuttles and trains to trolleys, there are many modes of transportation that get people where they need to be safely and efficiently. Providing fare free services for the ParkConneCT program helps expand access to these beautiful parks and beaches for residents across Connecticut.”

All buses associated with ParkConneCT will run fare-free from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day (May 28, 2022 to September 5, 2022). Additionally, as part of the fiscal year 2023 budget, all buses statewide will operate without collecting fares until December 1, 2022, with the exception of premium on-demand ridesharing programs. Wheels 2U and Valley Transit District’s on-demand ridesharing services will only be free on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays observed on May 28, July 4, and September 5, when using the service to or from parks in the ParkConneCT program.

The parks included in the ParkConneCT pilot program are:

  • Fort Trumbull State Park
  • Hammonasset Beach State Park
  • Indian Well State Park
  • Osbornedale State Park
  • Sherwood Island State Park
  • Silver Sands State Park
  • Sleeping Giant State Park

The state parks for this pilot program were selected based on criteria prioritizing seasonal employment levels, recreational summer activities, frequently traveled tourist destinations, and existing service connections. Routes were selected by performing an analysis using geospatial information systems and prioritizing areas where the most cost-effective improvements could be made to connect people to the parks.

For more information on ParkConneCT, visit portal.ct.gov/DEEP/State-Parks/Park-Connect.

DEEP continues to hire for seasonal positions at beaches, campgrounds, parks, forests, and boat launches. Positions are available in lifeguarding, customer relations, facilities and grounds maintenance, environmental conservation and education, office administration, and more. Those interested in lifeguard positions should apply by June 17, 2022, at portal.ct.gov/DEEP/State-Parks/Seasonal-Employment/Lifeguard-Program. To explore all seasonal opportunities at DEEP, visit portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Outdoor-Recreation/Work-Outdoors.

ParkConneCT Service Schedule

Hammonasset Beach State Park (Madison)

  • Hourly service on the Clinton Trolley that now stops at Middle Beach (operates Thursday through Sunday and holidays)
  • 30-minute service on the Madison Shuttle that stops at Middle Beach (operates on weekends and holidays)
  • Service every two hours on the 9-Town Transit 645: Madison/Middletown that stops at Middle Beach (Diverts into the park on Saturdays)
  • CTtransit Route 201 from New Haven operates weekdays and Saturdays, connecting to the Madison Shuttle route serving Hammonasset.
  • Direct bus service available from the Madison, Clinton and Old Saybrook train stations.

Silver Sands State Park (Milford)

  • Hourly service on the Silver Sands Shuttle (operates weekends and holidays)
  • Hourly service on the Milford Route 3 (operates Monday to Saturday)
  • 30-minute daily Coastal Link service to Milford Train Station
  • New Haven Line to Milford Train Station connects to Milford Route 3 and the Silver Sands Shuttle
  • CTtransit Routes 261 and 271 from New Haven meet the Silver Sands Shuttle route at the CT Post Mall on weekends.

Fort Trumbull State Park (New London)

  • Hourly service on the SEAT Route 13: New London to Lawrence, Memorial Hospital and Ocean Beach (operates on Saturdays, no service on Sundays/holidays)
  • Shore Line East train to New London Union Station connects with SEAT Route 13
  • Bus service (or walkable) from New London Union Station
  • Thames River Heritage Park River Taxi Harbor Cruise (service begins June 11)

Sleeping Giant State Park (Hamden)

  • Hourly Monday to Sunday service on the New Haven Route 228: Whitney Ave (operates Monday to Sunday)
  • Hourly Monday to Sunday service on the New Haven Route 229: New Haven – Waterbury (operates Monday to Sunday)
  • Farmington Canal Heritage Trail is a walk across Whitney Avenue to Sleeping Giant State Park

Sherwood Island State Park (Westport) New Service!

On-Demand Ridesharing:

  • Wheels 2U Westport and Norwalk Transit District are operating ride-sharing shuttles. Download the app, request a ride, and the shuttle will pick you up from anywhere in the Westport service area and take you to Sherwood Island State Park and back.
  • To use the Weekend Wheels 2U service, for free on weekends and holidays, the pickup or drop off location must be Sherwood Island State Park.
  • Coastal Link – Take the bus to the stop at CT Route 1 and Sherwood Island Connector then use the Wheels 2U Westport app to get a ride.
  • Take the train to Saugatuck Station or Greens Farms Station then use the Wheels 2U Westport app to get a ride.

Osbornedale State Park (Derby) and Indian Well State Park (Shelton) New Service!

On-Demand Ridesharing:

  • On weekends and holidays from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Valley Transit District (VTD) will provide transportation, within its service area boundaries, from Ansonia, Derby, Seymour, and Shelton, to Indian Well and Osbornedale State Parks using its on-demand ride reservation service. Non-Valley residents can utilize VTD ParkConneCT service with same day pick-up and drop-off at the Derby/Shelton train station. The hours of operation are from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. VTD buses are wheelchair accessible and air conditioned. Riders are to contact VTD’s reservation/dispatch department at 203-735-6408 for same day service to Osbornedale and Indian Well parks.
  • Valley Transit District service will be fare-free only on weekends and holidays, and when going to Osbornedale or Indian Well parks.
  • GBT Route 15: Connects downtown Bridgeport to Derby/Shelton train station (connects on weekends)
  • CTtransit Route 255: New Haven/Ansonia/Seymour connects downtown New Haven to Derby/Shelton train station (connects on Saturdays)

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