Unofficial Orientation Series: Getting There from Here

whadupdawg

Today’s installment is mostly a repost of a repost from years past (hey – I’m all about recycling) detailing ways for you to get around the New England area, Connecticut, home (or not), and most importantly to get some delicious pancakes at 4 in the morning. If you have a car already, feel free to ignore this post entirely while the rest of us look upon you with envy. If you don’t, then you might want to take my advice and become friends with someone who does. Until then, you may want to read on.

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. Lucky for you, we at Wesleying, and 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 make your lives easier.

Rideboard
The Rideboard, which you can access from your E-Portfolio, is super helpful in getting around by giving you a place to solicit (and offer) rides to your fellow Wesleyan students. Take a minute to check it out before you pay large monies to get anywhere. Right before breaks the various WesAdmit Facebook pages also turn into somewhat of a “Rideboard”, and though it’s annoying to scroll through dozens of people looking for rides, it’s  probably one of the best ways to find one.

ZipCar
Wesleyan and the WSA have partnered with ZipCar for a few years now, allowing us to have two ZipCars on campus. The ZipCar membership usually requires being 21 years of age, but they make a special exception for us college folk, 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 (good thing Athenian is open 24/7 amiright).

The Ride
The Ride is made up of vans that run a circuit around campus. You won’t typically have to wait more than 15 minutes for the next van at any given stop. You can figure out where each van is at any given time by going here, but most people just call the ride at (860) 685-3788. If they aren’t busy, they’ll come straight to your stop instead of completing their route first. 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, though I’ve definitely been lazy and cold enough to take it from Usdan to Fauver Bennett. On the weekends, there’s really nothing that beats showing up to a party at Psi U fresh from the Ride as you watch all your friends stumbling on their sore feet as they walk in. It’s always good to be on good terms with the drivers, they might just tell you where the party’s at.

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 ($25 one way) to New York (Penn/Grand Central), Boston (South Station) as well as Philly and 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 and from the New Haven train station. It leaves the front of Usdan every Thursday and Friday at 6:00 PM, Saturday at 10:00 AM, and Sunday at 4:00 PM. The shuttle then departs from Union Station at 7:00 PM Thursday and Friday, 11:00 AM Saturday and 5 :00 PM on Sunday. Tickets cost $10 per person one-way except on breaks when it’s $15 .Reservations need to be made at the Usdan box office by 4:00 PM on the day that you plan to leave.

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 instead you can call the amtrak phone number to get your reservation number and then pay on board the train.

Need an easier way to get to NYC? One anonymous commenter educates us all

Take the CT Transit 55 bus to Hartford from the Main Street station in Downtown Middletown. The bus costs 1.25 and accepts dollar bills and exact change. Get off at Downtown Hartford & OLD State House. Walk one Block north to Constitution Avenue and Arch Street where the Megabus to New York departs.Total Trip Time: 40 minutes to Hartford + 2 Hrs to 32ndSt and 9Th Ave in New York
look at megabus.com and if you book in advance you can get tickets for 1 dollar!

Don’t forget about taxis! Another 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.

Did I leave something out? Did I get something wrong? Wanna give me a ride? If you have a car, I’m always looking for more friends (with cars).  Write in the comments as these fine people have done in the past posts above.

TL;DR; Make friends with someone who has a car. Or don’t. Scan through the post for relevant info and you’ll be just fine.

  • Pingback: Wesleying Unofficial Orientation Series 2013 | Wesleying()

  • Alexandra

    What would be your suggestion of how to get from Middletown to Philly on a weekend?

  • Slim

    CT Transit just opened up (in April 2013) a new busline that connects New Haven to Meriden for $1.25 (or free with student ID). Meriden is also accessible by bus from Main Street. Also there is the Amtrack train to New Haven ($5.50) from Meriden which does not go too often or too fast, but will do the job in a pinch.

  • anonymous

    Also, break shuttles to NY, Boston, and sometimes Philly and D.C.!