Last year, Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center provided services to over 180 individuals that live along the shoreline. Given that only 4% of these individuals have driver’s licenses, 96% utilize 9 Town Transit to access work, medical appointments, grocery shopping, pharmacies, retail establishments and leisure activities. 9 Town Transit has been a valuable community partner for Vista for a number of years; in addition to providing transportation to Vista students and members, 9 Town Transit is in regular communication with Vista to give feedback and explore opportunities for collaboration. In fall of 2013, the Transit Advisory Committee was formed with the aim of improving public involvement and providing an opportunity for transit users to express their perspectives, concerns and ideas. Vista has been involved with Transit Advisory Committee meetings, which have provided an opportunity for students and members to advocate for themselves and to express their feedback in a constructive way.
Students and members of Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center recently had an opportunity to practice self-advocacy and get their perspectives heard. 9 Town Transit held a meeting of shoreline community members that would be affected by a newly proposed route from the shoreline area to Middletown. From 9 Town Transit:
“There is currently a gap in service between the Clinton/Madison area and Middletown. This gap makes travel between New Haven and Middletown very difficult. Currently, passengers must travel from Middletown to Old Saybrook and transfer to Clinton. This adds about 1 ½ hours to the trip.
A route beginning in Madison and traveling to Clinton and up Route 81 through Killingworth and Haddam on to Middletown would fill this gap. It would provide a one transfer trip between New Haven and Middletown with the connection to CT Transit New Haven division in Madison and reduce travel time by 1 ½ hours. The route would be two hours round trip with a stop at Middlesex Community College, and run Monday through Friday from 7:00 AM until 7:00 PM.”
The goal is to get the legislature to fund this new route. Two state representatives were at the meeting to listen to the needs of the community. Amongst the many community members speaking were 8 Vista students and members who shared their personal stories about their desire to access medical supports, Middlesex Hospital, CT Social Services and Middlesex Community College independently. One member spoke about the desire to expand employment opportunities in Middletown. All speakers gave compelling stories, and 9 Town Transit was very grateful for the large representation from Vista.
While this proposal is still in the process of being reviewed and decided on, Vista students and members, along with any other community members that support the additional route to Middletown are encouraged to write a letter of support (including examples of benefits that would result from this proposed route)to Joe Comerford, Executive Director of 9 Town Transit.
Send letters of support to:
Joe Comerford, Executive Director
9 Town Transit
17 Industrial Park Road Suite 6
Centerbrook, CT 06409
For more information regarding 9 Town Transit, the Transit Advisory Committee or the proposed route, please visit www.estuarytransit.org
Based in Madison and Westbrook, CT, Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center is a 501©3 nonprofit organization. Vista’s mission is “Providing services and resources to assist individuals with disabilities achieve personal success.”
For more information regarding Vista, please visit www.vistavocational.org