NEW HAVEN - The new Hartford Rail Line is up and running and this past weekend was marked as a success.
The Connecticut Department of Transportation issued an advisory on Saturday and Sunday because the trains were at capacity at approximately 22,000 people.
Monday marked the first day where people had to pay and the first train left at 4:35 a.m. and officials said there were approximately 11 people on that train. It varied from people going to work or people meeting friends for an early breakfast but this weekend, there were thousands of commuters.
"This is a regional investment!" said Jim Redeker, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Transportation.
Rederk said the grant was received in 2009 and construction started three years ago. He said the new line is not only fast but it will triple the number of trains that run along the Interstate 91 corridor.
"The $8 that we’re charging for the train - a comparable car charge would be $19 so no matter how you calculate it, this is a terrific alternative for people," added Redeker.
The new line features 17 daily round trips and 12 trips continuing north to Springfield.
A father and son duo took advantage of the new trains that were headed to Hartford Monday evening and said it has made their lives much more convenient.
"I like it better than riding a bus. It’s faster, like my son said it’s more convenient, they have food on the trains," said Benjamin Simmons, Jr. of Hartford.
"I mean, it’s good for the everyday person that has to commute back and forth to work so it helps. This is a big help for everybody," said Benjamin Simmons III of Hartford.
Fares will vary depending where commuters leave from and where they headed. For a one way ticket from New Haven to Hartford, it will cost $8 and take 46 minutes.
Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Monday the strong turnout over the weekend, shows "a sense of excitement about this long-overdue rail service."
His office says there were a total of 21,850 riders over the course of the CTrail Hartford Line's opening weekend —10,300 on Saturday and 11,550 on Sunday.