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Merged eastern Connecticut bus companies expand under new identity

River Valley Transit Executive Director Joe Comerford stands next to a newly branded bus.
Brian Scott-Smith
River Valley Transit Executive Director Joe Comerford stands next to a newly branded bus.

Two eastern Connecticut bus companies that merged last year have rebranded under a new identity. Middletown Area Transit and 9 Towns Transit will now be known as River Valley Transit.

Executive Director Joe Comerford said apart from a new name and new technology to help their customers use their service, they’re also reviewing where the buses go.

“We are in the middle of doing route changes right now,” Comerford said. “We’re taking public feedback still, but we have many changes to our routes and schedules to improve connectivity, decrease trip times, decrease transfer times and improve our service coverage.”

River Valley Transit bus routes map.
River Valley Transit bus routes map.

The bus company will continue to serve customers along Connecticut’s shoreline, river valley and up to Middletown, providing traditional bus rides as well as dial-a-ride and on demand services. The company plans to also roll out a new smartphone app to allow people to see in real-time when their bus will arrive.

Robert McGarry, first selectman of the Town of Haddam, one of 15 towns the bus company serves, said it’s an essential service for his community.

“I think this is a great thing bringing the two districts together and better serve all the constituents,” McGarry said. “Haddam, we have about 6,000 adult residents, we certainly don’t have 6,000 jobs in town. So, people need to leave Haddam to go to work, to do a lot of shopping and the bus provides a great service for those.”

An award-winning freelance reporter/host for WSHU, Brian lives in southeastern Connecticut and covers stories for WSHU across the Eastern side of the state.