Storrs/Hartford bus service halted to cut costs
Published: Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 23:01
The Storrs to Hartford express bus service, run by Megabus in collaboration with Dattco Inc., will no longer run on weekdays for the time being, to cut costs.
Janet Freniere, the head of the Department of Transportation at the University of Connecticut, agreed with the decision to halt the bus service based on the lack of ridership on Mondays through Thursdays. With the lack of riders, Megabus decided to pull the plug on the service in order to save money.
“It cost over $550 per person per semester to run the service, based on ridership data,” Freniere said.
She admitted that it wasn’t a decision she wanted to let happen, but in the end, the amount of money it cost didn’t justify the bus route running in comparison with the number of students that took advantage of the service.
While plenty of students and residents took advantage of the bus system, it wasn’t nearly enough to make it economically feasible. The only days where the service saw heavy use was on Friday nights and Monday mornings, due to the fact that students would take the bus home for the long weekend.
The service began in early 2011, according to megabus.com, as a way to provide students of the University of Connecticut and nearby Storrs residents with a speedy and cheap way to get from campus to the state capitol with ease.
But those weren’t the most important purposes of the bus route.
“It was originally designed to build more collaboration between Storrs and the UConn Health Center,” said Freniere.
However, Mike Alvich, Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations for megabus.com, says that the dropped weekday service isn’t all bad news.
“The service will still continue to run Friday, Saturday, and Sunday,” said Alvich. “And, there are still great opportunities to get discount seats.” He pointed out that there are tickets as low as $1 for a bus ride to Hartford.
Alvich also pointed out that the weekday bus service is by no means permanently cancelled. If ridership increases over a period of time, it is entirely possible to restore service on the weekdays.
“I would encourage students to sign up as a fan on Facebook,” says Alvich. It is another way for the company to determine how popular the bus service is becoming.
In addition to creating a cheap and fast service to Hartford, megabus.com still offers service to Amherst, MA, Providence, RI, and New York City. But, these services will now be limited to the weekdays as well.
“It is unfortunate,” said Freniere. “We wanted to see it succeed, but it just wasn’t financially feasible.”
However, if students do need to travel to Hartford or other cities statewide and beyond on the weekdays, they can still take advantage of the Peter Pan Bus Line. According to peterpanbus.com, Peter Pan runs three buses per day to Hartford and back, two buses per day to New York City, and one bus a day for many other cities across Connecticut and Massachusetts.