Transit to Little Compton

August 5, 2022

Most of Rhode Island is served by RIPTA, with the exceptions being in the far western part of the state, Block Island, as well as Tiverton and Little Compton. With a combined population of about 20,000, Tiverton and Little Compton are close enough to existing RIPTA services on Aquidneck Island to make transit extension easily feasible for RIPTA. Introducing the 81... my idea of a fixed route bus service to serve this two towns in the far eastern part of the state.

What route does this new 81 take around these two towns? The route would begin at the corner of Boyd's Ln and Bristol Ferry Rd in Portsmouth, which is the intersection where the 60 splits into its two branches. The route would stop at the Portsmouth Park and Ride before continuing along Park Ave, serving Portsmouth's northern beaches. The route crosses the Sakonnet River into Tiverton where it follows Main Rd, passing by Grinnell's Beach and the small neighborhood surrounding it. The route turns east along Bulgarmarsh Rd, crossing nearly the entire east-west length of the town of Tiverton, passing by its high school and middle school as well. The route turns south along Crandall Rd (also State Route 81, the numbering similarity with this bus route is a coincidence), where the route crosses the town line into Little Compton and the village of Adamsville. The route follows Colebrook Rd, Pelham Rd, and Willow Ave southwest through town to reach another small downtown area, this time composing of various town offices, a church, and a school. The route continues southwest along State Route 77 (again) to reach the terminus at Sakonnet Harbor, near the southernmost point of Little Compton. A ride on the entire route should take about 40 to 45 minutes from end to end.

Scheduling? With one bus operating along the route, service every 2 hours is possible with about 15 minutes of layover at each end of the route. Southbound service would run during odd hours between 7 am and 7 pm, leaving Boyd's and Bristol Ferry at the hour, the park and ride at 1 past, Grinnell's Beach at 10 past, the corner of State Routes 81 and 177 at 17 past, Adamsville at 26 past, the town offices in Little Compton at 34 past, and arrive in Sakonnet at 42 past the hour. Northbound service would be provided during even hours between 8 am and 8 pm, departing Sakonnet at the hour, the town offices at 8 past, Adamsville at 16 past, the corner of State Routes 81 and 177 at 25 past, Grinnell's Beach at 32 past, the park and ride at 41 past before terminating at 42 past the hour. Seven round trips per day would be provided.

However, this route is not like most other RIPTA routes. It doesn't serve a major transit center. Extending the route to the Newport Gateway Center or even Kennedy Plaza in Providence would add significant travel time to the route, reducing frequencies unless more buses are added to the route. There is adequate room at the Portsmouth Park and Ride to add a small bus bay, where transfers can be made to the East Main branch of the 60 and the 61x. More trips on the East Main branch of the 60 can have a park and ride stop added on their trips to allow for transfers to the 81. Originally, I was going to have the 81 terminate at this park and ride, but the extension to Bristol Ferry Rd allows for transfers to the West Main branch of the 60, as well as the combined section north of Portsmouth with better frequencies than each of the branches. Maybe the 24L can be deviated to add a stop here as well for passengers going northeast towards Fall River.

A map of the proposed 81.

Posted: Aug 5, 2022 20:42


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