Hartford’s downtown circulating bus – developed as an easily accessible means of moving tourists and convention goers around the city – was re-launched this fall with a new name, distinctive new coat of paint and renewed enthusiasm.
Previously operating as the Star Shuttle since September 2005, nearly 728,700 passengers have used the specially designated bus service, which connects the Connecticut Convention Center, the Riverfront, the CT Science Center, the Arts and Entertainment District, various restaurants, and downtown hotels.
Now, it has received an all-orange makeover, along with the new name – DASH.
The change follows the change in Hartford's tourism campaign branding from "New England's Rising Star" to "Hartford Has It" and continues as a collaboration among CT TRANSIT, CT DOT, the City of Hartford, the Capitol Region Development Authority, the Hartford Business Improvement District, the Hartford Metro Alliance, and the Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau.
A year ago, the Hartford Business Improvement District tapped the collective creativity of capitol region residents to help re-name the free downtown circulator. Local resident David Ceder suggested “dash”. Ceder explained "I am excited the time has come to showcase the rebranding and new shuttle name! I chose "dash" not only because of the acronym (Downtown Area SHuttle) but also because it's an action word --"dash," to me, is exciting, inviting, and invokes you to hop on and discover Downtown."
The bright orange DASH bus has been accompanied by updated signs downtown and an interactive map to help passengers know where to go to get on the free shuttle. Regular DASH service operates every weekday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., departing every 15 minutes from the Connecticut Convention Center.
During major downtown events, enhancements may include later evening service on weekdays, as well as service on Saturdays and Sundays. The specific services planned for each major event are posted on the CT TRANSIT website. The dash Shuttle does not operate on weekends when there is no downtown event scheduled. The free shuttle also offers convenient connections to both the Bradley Flyer bus and to regular local CT TRANSIT bus service.
An out-of-town visitor to a convention earlier this year – before the name change - praised the service. "My daughter and I ...have been using the Shuttle extensively to navigate the conference sites. I cannot say enough good things about ALL of the bus drivers. Thanks for making our trip so much fun."
Should you be wondering, two buses have received the DASH makeover, and the vehicles alternate in providing the service. The DASH shuttle is a service of the CT Department of Transportation and operated by CT TRANSIT. Information on the route and extended service hours can be found at www.cttransit.com.