Today’s installment is mostly a repost, detailing ways for you to get around the Connecticut and New England area. Or home, or to get waffle fries at 4 in the morning, or wherever. If you have a car already, you may want to ignore this entirely. If you don’t, then you might want to take our advice and become friends with someone who does.
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 (near Hartford). 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.
Shout-out in the comments with additions and corrections.
The Rideboard, which you can access from your E-Portfolio, is super helpful in getting places: there you offer and solicit rides to various useful places all over the places. Take a minute to check it out before you pay large monies to get anywhere.
Another helpful website, full of information that you won’t find here. Cardinal Directions is the WSA’s transportation website and lists shuttle times and locations in way more detail
than I feel like typing than included in this post.
Wesleyan and the WSA have partnered with ZipCar for a few years now, and we have two ZipCars on campus parked outside Albritton. ZipCar membership usually requires being 21 years of age, but they make a special exception for us college students so all you need is 18 years and a valid driver’s license. You can sign up here. Membership is $30 per year, and then the cars (including non-Wes ZipCars anywhere all over the States) rent at about $8 or $9 per hour (or ~$72 for a full-day booking) depending on the car. ZipCar covers gas, insurance, crash damage, and pretty much everything else so there are no hidden fees. If you are planning a full-day trip, then you’ll need to book a car weeks in advance — the slots get filled up pretty quick. ZipCar can be really useful for impromptu trips for food late at night though.
The Ride is a pair of vans that run a circuit around campus itself. Each van will hit each stop within 20 minutes. You can figure out where each van is at any given time by going here. In the wintry seasons (read: all year), the Ride can be a nice way to get home to the Butts without having to brave that long walk from the CFA.
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.
(Frosh, fear not: Wesleyan runs a shuttle to Bradley before and after Thanksgiving, winter, and spring breaks. Additionally, Wes has in recent years provided busing to New York (Grand Central) and Boston (South Station) during Winter and Spring Breaks. Update 2012: Wes will now be running a bus to Philly/Washington DC for most 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.
There is also 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.
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).
One anonymous commenter makes a good point:
taxis are not nearly as scary when you split the fare with some people. there are always people to split the fare with, if you’re going to/ from bradley at a time when many people are traveling. the bradley shuttle tends to be unhelpful for me, since there are only two rides a day when it is offered.