It was in October 2011 that evening bus service was restored to Waterbury after sixty years—due in large part to the efforts of Naugatuck Valley Community College students, faculty and staff, in partnership with the City of Waterbury, the Connecticut Department of Transportation and the city’s legislative delegation in Hartford. As of December 31, 2015, the service has provided 1,003,049 evening rides. North East Transportation of Waterbury estimates that the service eclipsed the mark of 1 million rides sometime around Christmas Day.
“Community colleges are about access—life-transforming access for many. If we believe in equality of opportunity, bus service is one of the many small ways we put that belief into practice,” said NVCC President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D. “Mass transit and public transportation are a part of the fabric of life in democratic societies. It is gratifying to see that our hard work to expand bus service has been so worthwhile—both for our students and for Waterbury as a whole.”
The milestone comes on the heels of the expansion of the College’s successful U-Pass program last fall to its Danbury Campus. Under the program, NVCC students enrolled in credit classes receive unlimited local bus service in both Danbury and Waterbury. The U-Pass program is funded by students through a $10 per-semester transportation fee, which students imposed on themselves by an overwhelming margin at a referendum in 2011. During the 2014-15 academic year, NVCC’s Student Government Association voted to extend that benefit to the Danbury Campus.
Also in 2015, NVCC partnered with the City of Waterbury and Saint Mary’s Hospital to add a bus shelter and sidewalks along Chase Parkway to enhance the safety of pedestrians. Planning to extend the sidewalks farther east is ongoing.
In addition, the College has begun exploring the feasibility of offering to students subsidized bus service between Danbury and Waterbury. This would be particularly useful to students in the Danbury area who must travel to Waterbury for specialized courses offered only on NVCC’s main campus.