September 22, 2019

9 Town Transit Celebrates 30th Anniversary

Dozens showed up to commemorate 30 years of public transit on the shoreline May 13 at the Chester Meeting House, while many more celebrated with a discounted $0.30 fare and free anniversary hats on all of 9 Town Transit’s routes.

The guest list included many regular 9 Town Transit customers, area First Selectman, State Representative Phil Miller, Senator Blumenthal’s representative Paul Mounds, and other local residents and business leaders.

Keynote speaker Ralph Eno, First Selectman of Lyme, explained that the towns of Deep River, Essex, and Chester began operating a public transit service in 1976, well before a transit district was ever created.  The route began as a result of the gasoline crisis of that period. 

It was in 1980 that Connecticut River Estuary Regional Planning Agency (CREPRA) director Stan Griemmann began pitching the idea of a transit district to the nine estuary towns.  Between 1980 and 1981 the nine towns joined to create the Estuary Transit District, and in May 1981 the board of directors adopted its first by-laws. 

Although the district was created in 1981, it only offered service two to three days a week until 1996, when they took over the eastern portion of the Dattco S Route.  This route became the Shoreline Shuttle, and would remain the district’s only daily service until 2005.

It was not until 2005 that the district began to take on its current form.  The Riverside Shuttle service from Chester to Old Saybrook began, the district began directly operating service after 24 years of contracting out operations, and two Dial-A-Ride routes were added.  Then in 2009, Old Saybrook to Middletown service was implemented, and in 2010 Old Saybrook to New London service began. 

In 30 years, 9 Town Transit has gone from a two day a week bus service provider to a thirteen bus, six day a week operation providing 64,000 trips annually and providing connections to New Haven, Hartford, Middletown, Norwich and New London.  “9 Town Transit now contributes to economic development in our area,” said state representative Phil Miller.

9 Town Transit provides service to all parts of Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook, and all services are open to the general public.  Additional information, route maps and schedules are available online at or by calling 9 Town Transit at 860-510-0429.