Out of anywhere in Rhode Island, this was the place RIPTA chose to put a flex zone? It's Newport and Middletown, one of the most visited parts of the state (I think) .
The place is full of other fixed routes--those being the 14, 60, 63, 64, and 67. I'm not sure what kind of benefit they get from operating the 231 alongside all these other options in the area.
The flex zone itself is actually pretty big, covering the main center of Newport as well as a good chunk of Middletown. All the fixed stops, however, are in the main center of Newport. There's only three fixed stops.
The route runs 5 trips per day Monday through Friday, leaving the Newport Visitors Center every 2 hours between 7:55 am and 3:55 pm. It takes 15 minutes to go from stop 1 to stop 3.
If I've been complaining about how useless this is, then what is the ridership like here? Well, this is actually RIPTA's least used route! They get 15 riders per weekday. 5 trips per day, so an average of 3 people per trip. That's not much at all. Most of the other 5 routes get a good chunk of riders per day as well.
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Heli on November 5, 2021 at 8:22 pm: if you look on the system map, there's quite a bit of newport and middletown not served by anything except for this flex so its kinda important, and there used to be fixed stops in middletown but there were killed in the fall 2021 changes. also flex routes are RIPTA's excuse to say "we serve [insert place here] with very good service so we wont run a fixed route here lol". good post tho.