Riding the Bus: Granby to Hartford

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Imagine, for a moment, your perfect community. What does it have? Public transportation, a good education system, parks, public works, restaurants, shops and businesses? These are all things that make our communities prosper and make us, their citizens, happy. Let’s focus on the first item on the list: public transportation. Yes, Granby has a bus line that goes into Hartford, but how many of us use that bus line when we need to go to Simsbury or make a trip to Hartford? My guess is very few.

The 912 bus route (Simsbury-Granby Express) starts at First Congregational Church in Granby and ends between Travelers and the Old State House in Hartford. It stops in Simsbury on Hopmeadow Street across from Walcott Road, on Iron Horse Boulevard behind Fitzgerald’s, and then at the intersection of Canal and Hopmeadow streets near The Riverview. After taking Route 185 through West Hartford, past the University of Hartford, and onto Asylum Avenue, the bus stops at Asylum Avenue and Woodland Street near Saint Francis in Hartford. Its penultimate stop is on Asylum Street at Bushnell Park right next to Union Station, before finally ending its route on Central Row between the State House and the Travelers Tower.

The best part is that for an all-day pass, the cost maxes out at $12. A ten-ride ticket covering the ride from Granby to Hartford costs just $36.90. That’s less than $4 per ticket. The only real drawback of the Simsbury-Granby express is that it only runs on weekdays. It is meant as a commuter bus. The last bus leaves Hartford in the evenings at 6:30 p.m., potentially cutting short any evening excursions. But the bus runs most of the weekday afternoons, leaving First Congregational Church at 1:10 p.m., 3:10 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. In the mornings the bus leaves First Church at 5:50 a.m., 6:20 a.m., 6:50 a.m., 7:20 a.m. and 7:50 a.m.

For commuters, and those who take the bus often, it can be an important means of getting where you need to go. For others, who may not take the bus, it is an important sign of community and connectedness to the closest area that can be called metropolitan. There seems to be a certain stigma in Granby associated with riding the bus. We seem to have an aversion to parking our cars in the designated lot, checking our timetables and schedules and boarding the bus. This need not be the case. Riding the bus should be for everyone, not just those concerned with their carbon footprint.

With more flexible schedules and running times, it might be possible to head into Hartford for a weekday meeting, to Simsbury for an early night out at your favorite restaurant, or to the Bushnell for a holiday matinee. This is something that we, as a community, should push for. Even now, consider taking the bus, knowing that not only will you save money on gas, parking and wear and tear on your car, but you will be contributing to your community by using the services that, in part, are paid for by your tax dollars.

Vital public services like transportation are things we need more of in our community. Connecting people and places, even over the weekend, is a necessary public good that is far too often overlooked in the public forum. Call on our elected officials to expand public transportation, and consider voting for those running for office who will expand the public services which so many already rely on.

Tickets, schedules and more can be found on cttransit.com