The United States is behind the ball in public transportation, often citing the impossibility of it in the spread-out communities here. Connecticut is a perfect example of this. Despite being a small state, there’s no one or two central hubs that unify the region, so public transit options run the risk of being too empty. Recent news regarding the success of the 913 Buckland-Storrs Express, however, gives this theory a run for its money.
The 913 Buckland-Storrs Express provides bussing between UConn waypoints in Storrs and Hartford. The bus also provides stops in Manchester and other central Connecticut destinations. In its first year, this service has exceeded expectations, seeing more than 115,000 riders.
If it was not obvious, this line is a love letter to UConn students. One of the most common complaints about UConn’s main campus is its remote location. Eastern Connecticut is hardly known for its options in terms of companies, activities or night life. Providing access to all that the more urban areas of Connecticut have to offer is a huge boon for UConn students in this respect. It is no surprise, then, that half the riders in the last month on this line came from or went to Storrs.
Less obvious is the reciprocity of such a bus line, though. Not only is this good news for UConn students, it also provides hope for the state and Hartford in particular. It is no secret that our capital is in a dire situation. People and businesses are flooding out of the city, and there’s uncertainty as to what will replace these losses. This bus line and its success gives one path to a solution. Knowing that young, educated UConn students are warming up to the idea of transit to and from Hartford, companies are more likely to set up shop there. If they can attract students to intern or work for them, this is a huge benefit to the company.
And so, perhaps this bus line will represent a change in the makeup and success of Hartford. Only time will tell, but it is clear that keeping UConn cooped up in the middle of nowhere does not do anyone any good. UConn students don’t want it, companies don’t want it, and the state as a whole is realizing that they don’t want it, either. It is great to see steps taken towards fixing this past mistake, and this data provides hope for the future of the university and the state.