Branch Line Service Study
This study was prepared by the South Western Regional Planning
Agency in 1995 to look at how well the Danbury Branch Line serves
major employers in several southwestern Connecticut towns. The major
focus was on the intrastate rather than the interstate commuters
in the region. In late 1993 employers with 100 or more employees
in the South Western Region began an ‘Employee Commute Option
(ECO)’ Program, which encouraged use of transit for commuting.
The study looked at 11 origin/residence towns in the region (Bethel,
Bridgewater, Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown,
Redding, Ridgefield, Sherman, and Wilton) and 5 destination/employment
towns (Darien, Greenwich, Norwalk, Stamford, and Wilton). The table
below lists the number of people from each origin town working in
each destination town for one of the ECO employers. The table also
lists the total number of people working for the ECO employers in
each destination town regardless of origin town. The ECO population
represented approximately 28% of the total population in the region.
1995 Danbury Branch Line Service
Study ECO Employees by Town
Source: SWRPA ECO database, 1995
Prior to the 1995 Metro-North Danbury Branch Line
service addition, there was a 2-hour service gap that covered the
scheduled ending time of 80% of commuters between the 11 origin
towns and ECO employers in 5 the destination towns. Other problems
noted in the report were:
- Limited parking
- Inconvenient and inadequate service (especially lack of
north-bound peak train)
- Need for transfers between trains
- Inadequate marketing of new train service, and
- Lack of connecting transit (in some towns) to take passengers
to and from their train stations to work and home.
The study concluded that a large market existed for
expanded intrastate service on the Danbury Line. The existing service
was sufficient for New York–bound employees but was not optimal
for a majority of employees in Connecticut’s coastal towns.
To that end, the following recommendations were made:
- Examine rail service enhancements in Wilton and a potential
link with commuter connection shuttles and bus service.
- Change the schedule or add a new morning peak train to Danbury
from South Norwalk with an emphasis on the Merritt 7 and Wilton
- Add stops in Stamford and Greenwich on peak Danbury Branch
- These are valuable time slots and stop locations for intrastate
- Continue track and parking improvements.