The M-Link was inaugurated over a decade ago in order to connect Middletown and Meriden. Present day M-Link service remains limited as well as unreliable for many. Many Middletown residents use the M-Link in order to transfer at Meriden Station for CT Transit buses going to various destinations in the region as well as for Amtrak service. The M-Link runs Monday through Friday as well as on Saturdays. A new schedule will be made for the M-Link Express in order for buses to line up with CTRail train times.
Current M-Link Fares
Recent Fiscal Issues and Changes to M-Link Service
In June of 2017, the M-Link was at risk of a 45% cut to service. There was a public hearing and due to public pressure, the Mayor of Middletown, Dan Drew and state representatives kept the service running, however it is unsure whether the funding will be sustained in the future. During the public hearing, many residents had the chance to speak and voice their opinions. Many saw the bus service as a community that was imperative for the larger Middletown community. Most of the people who ride the bus are low-income individuals who either don’t or rarely have access to a car. Many residents use the bus to go to work or get out of Middletown and go to the mall in Meriden or the Walmart in Cromwell.
Within a week of the public hearing, on June 30th, Andy Chiaravallo, the then current Administrator of MAT, and the Financial Contact, Cornell Lewis, were fired due to lax fiscal management. After the firings, Mayor Drew installed an interim administrator, Philip Pumphrey, who oversaw Middletown Area Transit until mid-September, when Lisa Seymour, who had worked for CT Transit previously, took over full-time after September 20th of 2017. Another significant change in M-Link service came when MAT announced the elimination of the “Middletown Plaza” and “Meriden Mall” stops, which went into effect November 20th, 2017. It is evident that the M-Link needs to be revitalized.
In April of 2018 there was a proposal by the Department of Transportation to enact 15% service cuts beginning in July and a 50% reduction of service cuts in 2019. According to a release by 9 Town Transit, another transit district in Connecticut, similar to Middletown Area Transit:
For decades, transportation programs in Connecticut have been funded by a tax on gasoline and diesel fuels that go into the Special Transportation Fund. The 25 cent gas tax has not changed since 2000, while vehicles have become more fuel efficient, all resulting in a decrease in revenues. Without action from the legislature, the Connecticut Department of Transportation warns that there will not be enough funding coming into the Special Transportation Fund to cover the expenses of the state’s transportation system. As a result, 9 Town Transit would see a 15% reduction in funding in 2018 and a 50% reduction of funding in 2019.
The effects on 9 Town Transit, will most likely be the same for Middletown Area Transit.
Luckally during this legislative session, organizers from Middletown came together and demanded no to any bus cuts and won!