Expanded Rhode Island Bus? - On the Rails

Expanded Rhode Island Bus?

July 14, 2021

This is part 2 to yesterday's post, "Expanded Rhode Island Rail?". I recommend that you read that before this post.

Alright, let's continue where we left off previously. To sum up part 1, redo the fare zones between Providence and Wickford Junction and extend the Providence Commuter Rail line to Kingston.

In order to revamp the state's bus system, we need to re-focus the routes. Currently, all or most of RIPTA's bus routes run directly into Downtown Providence. I propose that we split the state's routes between three hubs. One in Providence, at its current location. One in Kingston, at the train station. One in Newport, at the current Newport Gateway Center, where a few RIPTA routes meet today.

A few routes will operate between the three hubs, with routes from all hubs running service to TF Green Airport, as it is centrally located.

Now, let us get through RIPTA's problem children. These are routes that are so badly planned out, with major fixes that can help expand the system.

Big one: the Flex zones. These zones allow passengers to request that the bus deviate to any place within the designated zone. As long as you call them at least 24 hours in advance. There are also fixed stops in the zones with an actual schedule. They are all pretty much useless in their current state. Let's go through these individually.

203 (Narragansett) and 210 (Kingston) - These zones border each other, and RIPTA themselves know how bad these are as they are combining them in fall 2021. All that's needed would be a re-routing of the 66, which comes from Kingston station all the way to Point Judith. Also, include a deviation along the 14 to Narragansett Pier.

204 (Westerly) - Re-route the 301 (But the 301 only runs on Fridays. I know, see more further down.).

231 (South Aquidneck) - Do a complete re-routing of the 67. The route should go all the way through the zone and have a short deviation to the Newport Gateway Center.

242 (West Warwick / Coventry) - Clean up the routing of the 29 here, and keep the 12X and 13's current routes through the zone.

281 (Woonsocket) - Re-route the 87 a bit.

282 (Pascoag / Slatersville) - This shouldn't even be a flex. This should be a fixed route to replace part of the 59X. The route would provide a northern link across the state between the 9X and 54.

Ok, now the Flex zones are done. The 301 is the last problem child. This route currently only runs on Fridays. That's pointless. Extend the route down Route 138 to Kingston station. Also make it daily.

A few more additional suggestions remain. A beach hopper service should run between Westerly and Narragansett, stopping at popular beach sites across the coast. Something should also run to Tiverton and Little Compton, connecting to the 61X to take travelers to Providence. Eliminate the 59X, as the revamped 282 and 54 make it useless. Extend the 75 to meet the 50 at Bryant University. Maybe even extend the 63 to cover more of Jamestown, and let the 64 and 14 go express through here.

That's it from me.


Miles in Transit on July 14, 2021 at 9:52 pm: Ooh, extending the 301 to Kingston is a great idea! I don't hate the flex routes as a concept, I just think they need to get their butts together and actually run it like a "microtransit" service, with on-demand boarding.

Heli on July 14, 2021 at 9:55 pm: this post is pretty good! I like your ideas, though personally, no offense, but I disagree with some of your ideas (the 301 is a good idea, though). ight imma head out