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No Car? Try Hopping the Bus!

 

By David Beers

For whatever reason, you find yourself without access to a car in Norfolk. Should you stay home until you have access to a car again? Should you beg friends and family to borrow their car, or at least to give you a ride? This is a disconcerting prospect in a small town, particularly if you do not live within easy (or safe) walking distance of our many downtown amenities. There are a few people in town who get by without ever having access to a car.

For most of the past 15 years, our family has had one personal vehicle. While not nearly as difficult as living without a car, having only one car can be a challenge at times. I take the Peter Pan bus many times each year to visit my relatives north of Albany and have found the bus a great car alternative.

The Peter Pan bus drives through Norfolk four times a day.

I am sure many of you have seen the green Peter Pan bus coming through town. The bus traverses Route 44 four times a day—twice heading to Canaan and twice heading to Winsted. Unfortunately, the bus will not pick you up in town (I have asked), but some bus drivers will drop you off in front of the library. You can board the bus in Canaan in front of the Collins Diner and in Winsted in front of the coffee shop next to the post office. Both are about the same distance from downtown Norfolk, and operate seamlessly. I do recommend arriving 10 to 15 minutes ahead of time in case the bus is running a bit early. Please visit www.PeterPanBus.com for more details.

Heading north from Canaan, the bus makes stops in Sheffield, Great Barrington, Stockbridge, Lee (at the outlet mall), Lenox, Pittsfield and finally Williamstown. Pittsfield has a large bus station with a ticket counter, bathrooms and a coffee shop. In Pittsfield, you can transfer to buses heading towards Albany and Boston. With additional connections in Springfield and Worcester, you can get to most anywhere north of Norfolk. The northbound bus picks people up in Canaan at 12:20 p.m. and 8:10 p.m. and arrives in Williamstown at 2:10 p.m. and 9:35 p.m., respectively. With a 10-minute layover in Pittsfield, the 12:20 p.m. bus out of Canaan will get you to Albany at 2:40 p.m., but the 8:10 p.m. bus has no connection to Albany. A roundtrip ticket to Albany or Williamstown costs $50 to $70 dollars, depending on when you purchase it and when you are travelling.

Heading south from Canaan, the bus makes stops in Winsted, Torrington, Waterbury, Southbury, Danbury and the final stop is in New York City at Port Authority bus terminal, one block west of Times Square. In Waterbury, you can get a bus to Hartford, where you can connect to buses to Boston, eastern Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Haven. The southbound bus picks up in Canaan at 11:30 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. and arrives at Port Authority at 2:45 p.m. and 8:50 p.m., respectively. A roundtrip ticket to New York costs $70 to $90 dollars, depending on when you purchase it and when you are travelling.

It may sound daunting, but try the bus sometime. It’s nice to leave the driving to someone else and focus on the scenery.

This is the first in a series of articles about transportation alternatives in Norfolk. Photo by Bruce Frisch.

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