As any current Wes student will tell you, one area in which Middletown is seriously lacking is its ability to help you get out of Middletown. The closest train station is in Meriden, though your best bet for getting out of town is to go to Union Station in New Haven or Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks. Getting there, though, is quite the challenge, which is why we at Wesleying, with help from our friends at the Peer Advisor Blog, have attempted to compile a list of the car-less ways to get to Connecticut’s two main transportation hubs.
To Bradley Airport
Getting to Bradley without a car requires either taking a taxi ($64) or having a lot of free time on your hands. CTTransit route 55 stops in Middletown 17 times each weekday, with the first run occurring at 5:41 AM and the last at 7:18 PM. A ride on the express service (55X) takes about 50 minutes, while it’s about an hour otherwise. The trip ends in downtown Hartford, in front of the state house (near the intersection of Main and Pearl). From there, you can take route 30 (“Bradley Flyer”) to the airport; the bus leaves at 10 minutes past the hour from 4:10 AM-6:10 PM (except for trips at 11:40 AM and 5:00 PM), and then at 7:15, 8:20, 9:25, 10:45, and 11:45 PM. Trips to Bradley take half an hour. Fare from Middletown to Hartford is $1.25; you can get a free transfer for the Bradley Flyer.
The Middletown-Hartford bus does not leave from the Middletown Area Transit terminal on Main St., but rather from the intersection of Main St. and Union St. (right where Main becomes Crescent St.). It also only runs on weekdays.
(Pre-frosh, fear not: Wesleyan runs a shuttle to Bradley before and after Thanksgiving, winter, and spring breaks.)
To Union Station (New Haven)
If you’re leaving early in the morning on a weekday, you can take the free DATTCO Commuter Lot shuttle. The shuttle leaves the front of Usdan at 8:00 AM and takes you to the Middletown Park & Ride lot on Country Club Rd., where a DATTCO bus to Union Station leaves at 8:15. (There is no regular bus service to the lot, so this is basically the only way it’s accessible without a car.) One-way fair to New Haven is $3.60, and this service also runs only on weekdays.
You can also take a train from Meriden to New Haven. MAT’s M-Link leaves weekdays every hour on the half-hour from 6:30 AM-2:30 PM, and then at 3:45 and 4:45. It’s about a half-hour ride from Middletown to Meriden (though according to the schedule, trips that include mall runs take only 20 minutes). Amtrak’s New Haven-Springfield Shuttle makes four weekday stops in Meriden: 8:08 AM, 11:28 AM, 5:04 PM, and 8:18 PM. In addition, one Northeast Regional train stops in Meriden at 6:56 AM, and the daily Vermonter makes a stop at 3:56 PM. It’s $8.50 to get to New Haven on the Vermonter and $5 otherwise; the trip takes roughly 30 minutes.
On Saturdays, the M-Link makes four trips to Meriden: 8:30 AM, 10:30 AM, 12:30 PM, and 3:30 PM. The Amtrak shuttle makes four stops: 8:26 AM, 11:30 AM, 1:36 PM, and 6:24 PM. The Vermonter still stops at 3:56 PM, and two Northeast Regional trains stop at the station, one at 7:30 AM and one at 9:01 AM. The M-Link doesn’t run on Sundays, but trains stop in Meriden at the following times: 7:30 AM (Northeast Regional), 8:26 AM (shuttle), 9:55 AM (Northeast Regional), 11:30 AM (shuttle), 1:36 PM (shuttle), 3:56 PM (Vermonter), 5:06 PM (shuttle), and 8:11 PM (shuttle). Also note that the Vermonter costs $5 on Saturdays and $9.50 on Sundays.
Some notes: First, if you’re going north of New Haven (such as to South Station), you still have to take a train to New Haven and then another train from New Haven to your destination. Also, keep in mind if you get an Amtrak ticket from Meriden, there will probably be a $15 express delivery charge on top of the fare. The Meriden station ticket office is open from 6:30 AM-11:45 AM and 12:45 PM-3:00 PM weekdays only; if you’re leaving outside of those times, you won’t be able to pick up your ticket at the station, and Amtrak will have to mail it to you instead (hence the surcharge).
EDIT 8/28: Forgot to mention the Wesleyan shuttle to New Haven. It leaves the front of Usdan every Friday at 6:00 PM, Saturday at 10:00 AM, and Sunday at 4:00 PM (departing from Union Station an hour later), and the cost is $9 each way. Reservations need to be made at the Usdan box office by Thursday at 3:00 for the Friday shuttle and Friday at 3:00 for the Saturday and Sunday shuttles.