Town bus service begins operation

By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Enfield - posted Thu., Jan. 24, 2013
Driver Keith Almeida welcomes riders aboard the new Magic Carpet bus service. Photos by Colin Rajala.
Driver Keith Almeida welcomes riders aboard the new Magic Carpet bus service. Photos by Colin Rajala.

The town of Enfield is making an effort to become less car-centric, as it implements the Magic Carpet Enfield Transit Fixed Route Bus Service. The local bus service, commonly known as the Magic Carpet, was made possible through a $3.2 million grant from the federal and state governments. The Magic Carpet buses are the same size as the current Dial-a-Ride buses and have a Magic Carpet sign on the side.

“It’s convenient and affordable,” said Social Services Director Pamela Brown. “If people try it out, they will find it works right into their schedule. We’ve worked hard to make sure it meets people’s needs.”

The fixed bus route operates hourly from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Saturdays. The circular clockwise route begins near the town hall and travels from the corner of North Main Street and Enfield Street east on Elm Street to the Hazardville center, then west on Hazard Avenue and north on Pearl Street before looping through Thompsonville. A second bus will travel counter-clockwise during rush hours from 7 to 10 a.m. and from 4 to 7 p.m. The counter-clockwise and fixed routes include stops at the Enfield Square, Elm Plaza, Enfield Town Hall, Enfield Senior Center, Community Health Resources, Asnuntuck Community College and Brookside Plaza, as well as Pearl and High streets and North Maple and Hazard Avenue.

“It was exciting to see the riders getting on the first day,” said Dial-a-Ride coordinator Annette Read. “We had 24 riders the first day, with people going to the grocery store and all over. People were thankful and excited about the new service and it has grown every day since then.”

Tickets are available for purchase at the Enfield Transit Office located at the Enfield Senior Center, 299 Elm St., the Village Center of Thompsonville, 100 High St., and the Angelo Lamagna Center, 19 N. Main St. Beginning in February, tickets will be available in several area grocery stores. Riding the bus will cost 65 cents for senior citizens and the disabled, $1.30 for adults, $1.05 for youth, and children under 4 ride for free.  Riders will be able to purchase a 31-day unlimited ride pass for $47, with senior citizens and the disabled getting the pass for half the cost by using their government-issued Medicare card or state-issued photo ID. The service also offers three-, five- and seven-day passes.

Through a partnership with Asnuntuck Community College, all Asnuntuck students can ride for free when they show their student ID. The bus service will be free for riders through January.

Brown said the Magic Carpet will be handicap accessible, noting that if a resident is within three-fourths of a mile of the route, but can’t access the bus, a separate vehicle that is more accessible will be made available.

The bus service will be used in addition to the CT Transit express service that gets off I-91 in Enfield and travels north through the Thompsonville section of town. Brown said that the CT Transit express service is a more expensive option for residents and is only a north-south connector. She added that transfers will be honored for CT Transit buses.

More information about the bus service can be obtained by visiting www.enfield-ct.gov, or by calling 860-272-3545.


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