HEADLINES

ParkConneCT Program That Offers Increased Bus Services To State Parks and Beaches This Summer

Governor Ned Lamont today is reminding Connecticut residents about the state’s ParkConneCT program, which is offering increased bus services to Connecticut state parks and beaches. A continuation of a pilot program launched last year, the program offers fare-free shuttles and enhanced existing transit service to various state parks and beaches this summer through Labor Day (Monday, September 5, 2022).

The program, which is a collaboration of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT), aims to connect people to Connecticut state parks for the summer season, support seasonal employment, and promote recreational activity to improve physical and mental wellbeing.

The governor, along with CTDOT and DEEP officials, today highlighted the program by riding the Sherwood Island Shuttle from the Green’s Farms Metro North Station in Westport to Sherwood Island State Park. While at the park, the governor addressed the media and met with visitors enjoying the beach and boardwalk.

“Being able to catch a shuttle from the commuter station right to this beautiful shoreline park is a convenient resource to enjoy the outdoors that otherwise,” Governor Lamont said. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Connecticut’s state parks are one of the best things about living here, and connecting our residents to them is important. That’s what the ParkConneCT program is all about.”

“ParkConneCT increases access to the positive physical and mental benefits one can get from being out in our beautiful state parks,” DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said. “It can also help people who have seasonal employment with DEEP get to their workplace. Thank you, Governor Lamont and our DOT partners for the vision and collaboration on this important program. We hope you consider utilizing this service this summer and have a safe, fun, rejuvenating time in your state parks.”

“I’m excited to kick off the Fourth of July weekend by taking public transportation to one of our beautiful state parks,” CTDOT Commissioner Joseph Giulietti said. “Now is a great time to give public transit a try. It’s a convenient and reliable way to move across Connecticut. With fare free buses running statewide and through expanded free ParkConneCT services, like microtransit, trolleys, and shuttles, we’re expanding access to beaches and parks across Connecticut.”

All buses associated with the ParkConneCT pilot program will run fare free through Labor Day (September 5, 2022). Additionally, as part of the fiscal year 2023 budget, all buses statewide are operating without collecting fares until November 30, 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 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.

Since the launch of the pilot program, CTDOT has continued to collect and assess ridership and passenger trip data to measure the success of the program. Those efforts will continue this year and will include a survey to collect additional information from riders.

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

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-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)
  • On-Demand Ridesharing: New London’s “Smart Ride” operates Monday through Saturday. Customers can schedule a ride by downloading the “SEAT Connect” app via the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, or via their web browser)

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)

  • Wheels 2U Westport and Norwalk Transit District are operating ride-sharing shuttles. Download the app, request a ride, and the shuttle will pick passengers up from anywhere in the Westport service area and take them 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) & Indian Well State Park (Shelton)

  • 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 8am to 6pm. 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 weekends)

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