RIPTA's Flex Routes

October 26, 2021

In addition to many fixed-route services, RIPTA offers what they call "flex routes" around smaller downtowns around the state. These all have route numbers in the 200s (those being 203, 204, 231, 242, 281, and 282).

These are for areas that see little to no fixed-route service, and can pick up and drop off passengers in a "flex zone", the area that the route operates in. Passengers can also hop on and off at scheduled stops like any other fixed-route service. The 242 and 281 don't have any scheduled stops. All the other routes only see a handful of trips per day.

The fixed-route portion isn't that bad. The real issue is the whole flex part.

To request a pick up or drop off at a specific point, passengers must call RIPTA 24 hours in advance at (401) 784-9500 x1220. It's 2021, almost 2022, RIPTA. Most other services like this just have an app or a website to do this.

Why? Just why? This must be the reason that 4 out of the 5 least-used routes are Flex services. Nobody is going to call RIPTA in the digital age to get from one side of town to the other. Most of the Flex areas already have fixed-route service through the zone. At this point, most of the Flex routes are useless and the equipment needed to operate these routes can just be moved somewhere else.