CT Transit buses to resume fare enforcement, front-door boarding

Photo of Paul Schott
The Connecticut Department of Transportation plans to resume the use of front-door boarding and fareboxes on CTtransit buses on Oct. 5, 2020.

The Connecticut Department of Transportation plans to resume the use of front-door boarding and fareboxes on CTtransit buses on Oct. 5, 2020.

File photo

Fare enforcement and front-door boarding on CTtransit buses are scheduled to resume throughout Connecticut on Oct. 5, the state Department of Transportation has announced.

Use of fare boxes and front boarding were temporarily suspended earlier this year in response to the outbreak of COVID-19. Other transit operators in the state will also reinstitute fare enforcement; all are expected to have done so by Nov. 1, according to DOT officials.

In addition, the DOT plans to install safety barriers between drivers and fare boxes on all CTtransit buses in the Hartford, New Haven and Stamford divisions by Oct. 5. Those partitions are intended to ensure the safety of bus drivers and passengers. Temporary barriers will be used on bus services that are still procuring and installing the equipment.

“Bus service continues to be a critical lifeline to many during this public health crisis,” DOT Commissioner Joseph Giulietti said in a statement. “The relaxation of fare enforcement allowed us to continue to provide service while we upgraded our bus fleets with the installation of safety barriers.”

Before the emergence of coronavirus, DOT officials said they installed permanent barriers on some buses on a trial basis to test their effectiveness and ensure that they did not interfere with bus operations. They said they received positive feedback from drivers and passengers.

“The permanent barriers did perform admirably in our tests, and we are thrilled to roll out this important safety feature on our fleet of vehicles,” Dennis Solensky, transit administrator of DOT’s Bureau of Public Transportation, said in a statement. “As a result of the pandemic, we moved up the purchase and installation of these barriers to ensure that our drivers and passengers remain safe during these unique times.”

DOT officials are encouraging bus customers to use Go CT cards, which passengers tap at fareboxes. They can be purchased through the CTtransit online store, at CTtransit sales outlets and from a number of retailers in the state. For more information about Go CT cards, visit www.cttransit.com.

At the same time, DOT officials are enforcing mask wearing on public transit, following an executive order signed last month by Gov. Ned Lamont. Free masks are available at staffed bus and rail ticket sales outlets and onboard trains if any riders have forgotten their masks, officials said.

Combined with the new barriers, “appropriate social distancing and wearing of masks by our customers and bus operators, will help ensure the safety of the bus riding public,” Giuletti said.

pschott@stamfordadvocate.com; twitter: @paulschott