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CT Transit Bus Facility Opens in Hamden

12/10/2010

CT Transit Bus Garage Opens in Hamden

HAMDEN — After a soft opening last week, it’s all systems go at the new CT Transit New Haven Division headquarters on State Street.

The state Department of Transportation owns the $79 million facility, which took two years to build on the former Detroit Steel property at 2061 State St. It is next to the state Department of Motor Vehicles office.

CT Transit, the brand name of the state-owned public bus system, ran buses for 17 area towns from State and James streets in New Haven since 1945. A DOT study from 1990 showed that it would have cost more to renovate the old building than to build a new facility, according to David A. Lee, general manager for CT Transit.

Fusco Builders of New Haven was the low bidder for the project, and is working on finishing touches, said Dennis Jolly, DOT transit manager. The project was 80 percent funded through federal grants and 20 percent with state bonding, Jolly said. The project costs also included remediation of the 23-acre site.

The new 285,000-square-foot facility with modern mechanicals, energy efficient lighting, a 12-bay maintenance area, and parking for 140 buses replaces a worn-out, darker facility built for smaller buses with an inefficient layout, said Lee. Water used to clean the buses is recycled. Officials also are hoping to bring a hydrogen fuel cell power generator to the facility.

The old 187,000-square-foot building will store a reserve fleet of buses and old buses that will be disposed of, Lee said. It will also be a parking lot for driver training and may be a storage area for the state Highway Department.

The bus facility operates seven days a week, about 21 hours a day, with 286 employees, 182 of whom are drivers. At peak hours, there are 92 buses on the road from New Haven to its border communities. There is a total fleet of 112 buses ranging in age from 6 to 12 years, said Angel Cardona, New Haven division superintendent. Victor Marques is the division manager.

Cardona expects that some of the fleet will be overhauled soon with new hybrid buses as well as buses that can fit about 60 passengers.

The first bus leaves at 4:20 a.m. and the last one comes in at 1:20 a.m., Cardona said.

Someone is always working at the garage, be it dispatchers or mechanics, who work three shifts. Each night, the buses are fueled and cleaned and their oil levels are checked.

Cardona said the employees are excited to be working in the new facility. It will cost $33.6 million to operate annually. “It’s going to take some getting used to. Everything is modern and computerized,” said Dave Wray, head maintenance foreman with CT Transit for 31 years.

The state decided in 1999 to bring the bus facility to Hamden instead of West Haven, and then bought the property from Armco Inc. of Pittsburgh.

Call Ann DeMatteo at 203-789-5716.

Reproduced with permission by the New Haven Register

 

 


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