MADISON, Connecticut — If you have always wanted to visit Connecticut's state parks and beaches in the summer but have not been able to because of transportation issues, there is now a solution.
Governor Lamont announced Friday morning Connecticut residents can take the shuttle and bus for free this summer to any state park or beach.
That kicked off this weekend and lasts until Labor Day weekend.
"Now visitors can kick back and let the others do the driving for free," said Madison First Selectwoman Peggy Lyons.
This is all in an effort for residents to avoid navigating through busy roads, clogged intersections, and trying to find parking.
The shuttle and buses can now drop them off without having to worry about all of that.
"We have a lot of kids in our state who haven’t had an opportunity to discover beaches like this. We have a lot of kids right down the street in downtown new Haven who maybe didn’t know how they can get here, and I really want them to have the opportunity to experience what we’re all able to enjoy," said Governor Ned Lamont.
Part of the governor's pilot program named ParkConneCT, will allow residents to have greater access to the town and state's natural resources while improving their physical and mental wellbeing.
State officials added too many times, they heard people saying they cannot make it to these public attractions simply because they do not have a ride.
"A resident who does not have access to a vehicle, can’t afford to own a car, doesn’t want to drive a car, they will now have the opportunity to get to the beautiful places that make Connecticut great," said Deputy Commissioner Garrett Eucalitto of the Connecticut Department of Transportation.
During the pandemic last year, people flocked to the great outdoors as their only way to not cooped up inside.
"3.6 million visitors doubling our normal visitor shift here at this park even though we had to cut our parking capacity and close," said Commissioner Katie Dyes of the Connecticut Energy & Environmental Protection.
All buses will operate without collecting fares on Saturdays, Sundays, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day.
The Silver Sands shuttle, Madison shuttle, and Clinton Trolley will also be fare-free on weekdays.
The parks included in the program are - Silver Sands, Hammonasset, Sleeping Giant, Bluff Point and Fort Trumbull.
Hammonasset Beach State Park (Madison)
- Hourly Sunday service on the Estuary 641: Old Saybrook/Madison
- Saturday and Sunday service every two hours on the Estuary 645: Madison/Middletown that will now stop at Middle Beach
- Free hourly daily service on the Clinton Trolley that now stops at Middle Beach
- Free 30-minute daily service on the new Madison Shuttle that stops at Middle Beach
- Hourly Monday-Saturday service on the Estuary 641: Old Saybrook/Madison
- Monday-Friday service every two hours on the Estuary 645: Madison/Middletown that will now stop at Middle Beach
- Shore Line East to Madison Train Station connects with the Madison Shuttle
Silver Sands State Park (Milford)
- Free hourly daily service on the new Silver Sands Shuttle
- Hourly Monday-Friday service on the Milford Route 3
- 30-minute daily Coastal Link service to Milford Train Station
- New Haven Line to Milford Train Station connects to Milford Route 3 and the Silver Sands Shuttle
Bluff Point State Park (Groton)
- Hourly Monday-Saturday service on the SEAT Route 11: Groton Local Service
Fort Trumbull State Park (New London)
- Hourly Monday-Saturday service on the SEAT Route 13: New London to Lawrence, Memorial Hospital and Ocean Beach
- Shore Line East to New London Union Train Station connects with SEAT Route 13
- Thames River Heritage Park River Taxi Harbor Cruise (service begins June 12th)
Sleeping Giant State Park (Hamden)
- Hourly Monday-Sunday service on the New Haven Route 228: Whitney Ave
- Hourly Monday-Sunday service on the New Haven Route 229: New Haven – Waterbury
- Farmington Canal Heritage Trail
DEEP continues to hire for seasonal positions at beaches, campgrounds, parks, forests and boat launches. Positions are available in customer relations, facilities and grounds maintenance, environmental conservation and education, lifeguarding, office administration, and more. Those interested in lifeguard positions should apply by June 1, 2021. To explore seasonal opportunities at DEEP, visit portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Outdoor-Recreation/Work-Outdoors.
For more information on ParkConneCT, click here.
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