Middletown Area Transit Won't Shut Down Bus Routes

Middletown Area Transit (MAT) backed off a controversial plan to cut bus routes that could have severely impacted riders who rely on the service.

“The service cuts that were to be implemented on July 1st will not go into effect at this time. All buses will continue to run as scheduled, until further notice," the MAT's website reads. 

MAT – which handles about 400,000 annual riders – had blamed the service scale back on state funding cuts.

It had planned to nix night service as well as reduce routes including the M-Link between Middletown and Meriden.

The news of a reprieve was relief to MAT regulars.

"I’m real happy," Scott Roberts, of Middletown, said. "It’s about all of us. It’s about those of us who have to go home after work in Hartford."

Middletown Mayor Dan Drew said a state Department of Transportation (DOT) appointee is overseeing the transit organization to figure out how bad the money situation is and what can be done to fix it.

"I’m pleased that the bus service is going to continue. We met with DOT emergency staff this afternoon and my goal in all this is just make sure the people of Middletown who rely on public transportation have public transportation available to them," Drew said.

The mayor had threatened to withhold the city’s funding share for MAT unless certain demands were met, including resuming routes and bringing in DOT help to straighten out the service.

"To the degree that any adjustments are necessary in the long run they will make those decisions very carefully and deliberately and with consideration for people who need these services," Drew said.

NBC Connecticut reached out to MAT and DOT for comment.

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