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Estuary Transit District


Estuary Transit District

Estuary Transit District is the public transit provider for Connecticut River Estuary region. ETD provides public transit bus service through its 9 Town Transit service to the towns of Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook, Connecticut. Services are provided to the general public, with no age or disability restrictions.


ETD is a political sub-division of the State of Connecticut created in 1981 under Chapter 103(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes by the towns of Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook.[1] Each member town appoints one Director to the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors sets policies, establishes budgets, and provides general direction for the District. Each Director receives a weighted vote based on the population of the town which he or she represents. The Board of Directors employs an Executive Director to manage the day to day operations of the District.


The Estuary Transit District was established in 1981 under Chapter 103(a) of the Connecticut General Statutes. Below is a brief timeline of the District's history.[2]

  • 1976 – The towns of Chester, Deep River, and Essex join together to provide transportation within the three towns in response to the gas crisis.
  • May 1978 – The Lower Connecticut Valley Selectman’s Association endorsed a five-year plan including public transportation
  • January 1980 – Connecticut River Estuary Regional Planning Agency (CRERPA) director Stan Griemann proposes a transit district for the valley-shore region. Deep River is first to join the new district, and the other eight towns follow over the next year.
  • May 1981 – The Estuary Transit District (ETD) Board of Directors adopts its first by-laws, officially creating the regions first transit district.
  • Summer 1981 – The Tri-Town bus service operating on demand in the towns of Chester, Deep River, and Essex begins running only two days a week, replacing the service begun in 1976. The service is operated by the Estuary Council of Seniors.
  • January 1983 – ETD receives its first state and federal operating grants, a total of $29,000.
  • July 1984 – The “Shoreline Bus” begins service between Old Saybrook and Clinton, connecting with the Connecticut Transit bus in Clinton. The bus runs on Saturdays only, runs three round trips, and offers free fares. The bus is operated by the Liberty Bus Company of Chester.
  • 1985 – Connecticut Transit announces an end to New Haven commuter service east of Clinton, eliminating the Shoreline’s weekday public transit service.
  • July 1987 – After two years of requests by the ETD Board of Directors, ConnDOT contracts with Dattco to restore bus service between Old Saybrook and New Haven.
  • July 1996 – ETD takes over the eastern portion of the S Route, creating the Shoreline Shuttle, operating Monday through Friday with two buses. The new route provides a connection to the S Route service to New Haven.
  • 1999 – A third bus is added to the Shoreline Shuttle to keep up with increasing demand.
  • July 2002 – The Tri-Town service is eliminated and replaced with “The Bus”, a demand response service running Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday.
  • June 2004 – ETD adopts the name 9 Town Transit to re-brand the district and remove the image that the district was only a senior service.
  • November 2005 – ETD ends its operating contract and begins direct operation of all services. Shortly after, ETD begins operation of the Dial-A-Ride service previously provided by the Estuary Council of Seniors.
  • 2006 - 2007 - ETD, under Westbrook Chairwoman Doris Sandstrom, suffers financial and personnel problems which jeopardize the future of the district. Member town's selectmen reorganized Board and several were appointed directors to reestablish the district. An interim manager from the State DOT was hired. By the next fiscal year, the district was functional again and produced a budget surplus.
  • 2008 – Service begins between Old Saybrook and Niantic Monday through Friday.
  • July 2009 – The Mid-Shore Express begins weekday service between Old Saybrook and Middletown, providing a connection to CT Transit Hartford and Middletown Area Transit.
  • December 2009 – Hours are expanded on Dial-A-Ride services to 6:15 AM – 5:45 PM Monday through Friday and 8:15 AM – 3:45 PM Saturday.
  • June 2010 – A GPS based scheduling system is launched, improving on-time performance and offering text message alerts and online trip booking.
  • July 2010 – The Southeast Shuttle replaces the Niantic service with an Old Saybrook to New London route and a connection to Southeast Area Transit.
  • December 2010 – Riverside Shuttle hours are expanded to 6:25 AM – 8:00 PM on weekdays and an additional evening run is added to the Shoreline Shuttle.
  • May 2011 – ETD becomes purchases the first two hybrid mini-buses in New England.
  • April 2012 - Hours of the Mid-Shore Express and Southeast Shuttles are expanded and service in Haddam added.
  • June 2012 - Dial-A-Ride service begins in Haddam.
  • September 2013 - Eight new buses are introduced into the fleet, including the first low-floor vehicles.


All services are operated under the 9 Town Transit (9TT) name. Services include four deviated-fixed routes and door-to-door demand response transportation. All deviated-fixed routes begin at the Old Saybrook Train Station where free transfers between routes can be made. Deviated-fixed routes will deviate up to 3/4 mile off the published route for pick-ups or drop-offs. Reservations for off-route trips must be made one day in advance. Any trips along the route do not require reservations and can be made by flagging the bus down anywhere along the route. In 2011, ETD provided 86,000 passenger trips over all of its services, 34% more than in 2010.

Shoreline Shuttle

The Shoreline Shuttle is 9TT's oldest and most utilized deviated-fixed route. It operates Monday through Saturday along Route 1 between the Old Saybrook Train Station and the Scranton Gazebo in Madison. The Shoreline Shuttle serves such points of interest as Clinton Crossing Outlets, Westbrook Tanger Outlets, Water's Edge Resort, Wal-Mart, four grocery stores, four train stations, Old Saybrook's Main Street shopping and dining district, and the Estuary Council of Seniors. It also provides connections to the CT Transit New Haven Division S-Route bus to New Haven and to Shoreline East Railroad. In December 2010, the an additional evening trip was added and the schedule was improved to provide hourly service. In December 2011, Saturday hours were greatly expanded and connections to the S-Route were added.

Riverside Shuttle

The Riverside Shuttle operates Monday through Saturday along Route 154 between the Old Saybrook Train Station and Chester Center. The Riverside Shuttle serves such points of interest as Bokum Shopping Plaza, Lawrence and Memorial Medical Center, Essex Village, Centerbrook Industrial Park, Essex Steam Train, Deep River Center, and Chester Center. In December 2010, the hours were greatly expanded on weekdays to accommodate commuters, and connections to the Shoreline Shuttle were improved.

Mid-Shore Express

The Mid-Shore Express began in June 2009, connecting the Old Saybrook Train Station to the Middletown Bus Terminal in downtown Middletown Monday through Friday. The Mid-Shore Express serves such points of interest as the Essex and Chester Park and Ride lots, Chester Center, Higganum center, Middlesex Community College, Middlesex Hospital, and downtown Middletown. Free connections may be made to Middletown Area Transit and CT Transit Hartford bus services. In April 2012, additional hours were added to fill the mid-day gap that had existed.

Southeast Shuttle

The Southeast Shuttle began July 6, 2010, providing service along Route 1 between the Old Saybrook Train Station and the New London Transportation Center in downtown New London Monday through Friday. The Southeast Shuttle serves such points of interest as the Old Lyme Shopping Center, the Old Lyme Shore, Old Lyme Senior Center, and downtown Norwich. Free transfers can be made to Southeast Area Transit bus service throughout the Norwich/New London region. In April 2012, the hours were extended to accommodate commuters.


For those traveling in areas not served by shuttle routes, ETD offers door-to-door demand response service anywhere within the nine member towns. Beginning June 1, 2012, Dial-A-Ride is also available in Haddam west of the river. Service is available Monday through Saturday and must be reserved at least one day in advance. Dial-A-Ride is also available to the general public with no age restrictions.


Cash fares are $1.50 for shuttles, $3.00 for Dial-A-Ride or off-route trips. Pre-paid fares, such as 10-ride tickets and monthly passes are also available for purchase at the main office or at local supermarkets. Senior citizens age 60 and over may ride for a suggested donation of $.75 on-route and $1.50 off-route/Dial-A-Ride by registering with ETD in advance. Transfers to other ETD routes or to connecting bus services are free.


The district is funded by four main sources, with the majority from the Federal Transit Administration Section 5311 program [3] and the state of Connecticut Department of Transportation [4]


External links

  • 9 Town Transit
  • CT Transit
  • Southeast Area Transit
  • Middletown Area Transit
  • Shoreline East Rail Road
  • CT Rides Commuter Info
  • Commute Plan - CT Transit Trip Planner
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