QX: Quonset Express

June 26, 2022

The QX is one of RIPTA's more interesting routes in terms of planning. To start, there's no number associated with the route (internally the route is numbered 7), but they just call it the QX, short for Quonset Express. As the name implies, the QX is an express route to Quonset.

So, just a normal express route like the 10x or the 95x, starting at Kennedy Plaza and hopping on the highway towards the final destination? Well, this route starts in downtown Pawtucket, continues express to Kennedy Plaza, stops at three places in Cranston (a mall, some intersection along the 21, and another mall), and then continues to the Quonset Business Park.

At Quonset, the planning gets even weirder, but I'll need to talk about the scheduling for that. The QX has two trips in each direction, peak direction only (to Quonset in the morning, from Quonset in the afternoon), like other express routes. I don't think the businesses at Quonset work a 9 to 5 schedule, as the buses arrive in Quonset at 5:37 and 6:30 am, and leave at 3:00 and 3:34 pm. This is a long route due to it coming from Pawtucket, and takes 1 hour and 15 minutes to ride the entire thing. The first trip leaves Pawtucket at 4:40 am, and it's got to be one of the earliest runs on the entire system each weekday.

There are seven different businesses with timepoints at Quonset. The first morning trip stops in the following order - Cargill, Electric Boat, Toray, Job Lot, Norad, and Kohl's (counterclockwise around the Quonset loop). The second - Cargill, Kohl's, Norad, Job Lot, Keifer Park (does not see service on the first trip), Electric Boat, Toray (clockwise around the loop). Both return trips start at Cargill at the earlier-mentioned times, and travel clockwise around the loop (which takes about 15 minutes from Cargill to Toray) before continuing towards Cranston, Providence, and Pawtucket.

Final thoughts - Since this route is new (newer than State of the System in early 2019, where ridership numbers come from), I'm not sure how popular the service is. In theory, this seems like it would be popular. It connects people to jobs (in an area not previously served by RIPTA) with fairly fast service, only stopping at Park and Ride locations along the way. The schedule with the different routings can make riders confused. Also, the map on RIPTA's timetable isn't detailed at all. To figure out where the stops were, I had to use Google Maps because it just said timepoints 4, 5, and 6 were somewhere in or near Cranston. Also, the early morning service is really nice for those not going to Quonset as well, since RIPTA doesn't typically operate that early in the morning.

Posted: Jun 26, 2022 01:29


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Cod on June 26, 2022 at 2:09 am: Ooh, one I've ridden! As for my trip it had 4 people total and mostly everyone got off in Cranston - save for one guy who went to Pawtucket

Cedric on June 26, 2022 at 9:39 am: Nice! There's a pretty decent local section in Cranston, where it goes onto RI-37, and follows the 21, then follows the 30 to Brewery before getting on RI-10 to Providence. Not the fastest, but it looks like it gets good ridership so let's keep it