June 30, 2022

9 Town Transit Earns National Top Honors

On Wed., June 8, the Estuary Transit District, better known as 9 Town Transit, in Centerbrook, Conn., received the Rural System of the Year award at this year’s Community Transportation Association Expo in Indianapolis. The Community of Transportation Association of America (CTAA), celebrating its 25-year anniversary, organized the event.

The award is given each year to the transportation agency that provides service in a non-urban area with a population of less than 50,000. The award is given to a transit operation that has presented innovative and creative services within the community, and has displayed exceptional responsiveness to its customers’ and community needs.  The district was selected from amongst the 4,000 member agencies.

“This is a great honor and we are very proud to have received this award,” said Joe Comerford, executive director, Estuary Transit District/First Transit. “This was a group effort and I greatly appreciate the work my staff has done over the years to achieve this recognition.”

CTAA was most impressed with the implementation of new technology and 9 Town Transit’s (9TT) ability to expand services despite the current economic climate.  Over the past two years, 9TT has implemented a GPS based dispatching system, text message alerts to passengers, online trip booking and pass sales, and regular updates through various social media outlets.  With the help of the Connecticut Department of Transportation, 9TT has also been able to add new services to Middletown and New London from Old Saybrook, as well as add hours to existing services to accommodate commuters.  The efforts have caused ridership to grow almost 40% during this period.

The award is especially gratifying considering 9TT’s financial difficulties in the not so distant past. In 2006, the district had depleted its reserve funds and was forced to request additional funding from its member towns.  Many member town First Selectman joined the district’s Board of Directors to help stabilize the district, and transit management company First Transit was hired to provide professional management.

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 www.9towntransit.com or by calling 9 Town Transit at 860-510-0429.