The Board of Alderman will vote this Tuesday on a resolution to support the addition of a New Haven stop to the BoltBus, a coach service owned by Greyhound Lines.
Ward 22 Alderman Greg Morehead drafted the resolution, and he said its purpose is to “join the chorus” of organizations, including the city’s Office of Economic Development and the University, calling for an expansion of the BoltBus line into New Haven.
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Adding a BoltBus stop in New Haven would make it more attractive for individuals and businesses to move to New Haven, thereby increasing the tax base and increasing revenue for the city, Morehead said. Plus, it would be convenient for residents, especially Yale students who hail from major cities in the Northeast.
“Everyone I’ve spoken to is behind it,” Morehead said.
Established in 2008, the BoltBus has made a name for itself through its cheap fares — tickets on the bus typically cost between $5 and $25, and some fares are as low as $1. Currently, the bus network makes stops in Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, Baltimore, Greenbelt, Md., and Cherry Hill, N.J. The buses feature high-speed wireless Internet, power outlets at each seat and more legroom than on a typical coach.
Morehead said he was prompted to draft the resolution one month ago, after he saw a popular discussion thread about bringing the BoltBus to New Haven on SeeClickFix.com, a popular community Web site. As of Wednesday, 145 users of the site had said they want to see the bus line make a stop in New Haven.
But as it stands, Greyhound Lines spokesman Timothy Stokes said the company has no plans to expand the BoltBus to New Haven, or any other city. Stokes said he was not aware of any communication between BoltBus and New Haven officials, though he did not rule out the possibility of establishing a stop in New Haven in future years.
Still, city officials are mobilizing in order to convince the bus company that expanding to New Haven would be a profitable decision. Deputy Economic Development Administrator Chrissy Bonanno posted a message in the BoltBus thread on the SeeClickFix Web site, assuring residents that government officials were listening to the calls for cheaper transportation options for traveling in the Northeast.
“The City of New Haven is committed to getting Bolt Bus to add us to their route,” Bonanno wrote.
In the post, Bonanno stated that government officials are teaming up with “area partners” in order to encourage the bus company to expand its service. One of these partners is Yale, and both city and University officials are working together to produce promotional marketing materials to send to BoltBus, Morehead said.
But if the BoltBus does come to New Haven, some debate may arise over the location of the bus stop. Morehead said New Haven’s proximity to the existing New York–Boston bus route (which runs along Interstate 95) is a key selling point in convincing BoltBus executives that a New Haven stop would be convenient and pain-free. If the bus must drive too far into town — say, to downtown New Haven — traffic would delay the bus considerably. Instead, Morehead said he imagines the stop would be closer to the I-95, by Long Wharf, so that the bus could enter and exit New Haven quickly. If that were the case, the bus would not be within walking distance for Yale students.
Morehead added that the University could easily extend shuttle service to the location of the BoltBus stop.