Yes, I know it’s “Broad St.” and the page with all the routes calls it “Broad St./Pawtucket Ave.”, but in reality this is probably the main Cumberland route and should be noted as such. So, that’s the title.
So, the route starts …at a Job Lot in Providence? Huh, weird choice, RIPTA. Going up Ann Mary Street, we went left onto North Main and veered right onto Pawtucket Avenue. While the R Line replaced the 99’s Main St. trips, the 71 largely replaces the 99’s Pawtucket Ave. runs. From here, it was largely residential and a straight shot into Pawtucket’s downtown. Crossing into the interstate, we entered downtown Pawtucket, and after a couple of rights we entered the Pawtucket Visitors Center. Northbound trips on the 71 stopped at Slater Mill, while southbound trips stop at the visitor’s center side.
Leaving the visitor’s center, we went up towards Broad Street and went straight. Going down here, we crossed the Northeast Corridor and encountered a relic of railroad history – the old Pawtucket train station.
Moving on down, we passed through the densest square mile in Rhode Island, passing by a number of fried chicken establishments, and eventually entered Cumberland. However, we didn’t go too terribly far as we took a left down Ann & Hope Way, crossing the Providence & Worcester mainline, passing some old, decrepit mills, and ending at Stop & Shop on Mendon Road.
The good: It’s a crosstown between Providence and Cumberland! It serves Pawtucket Avenue (which would be unserved otherwise with the 99 being axed). It also serves the front door of Stop & Shop, and cuts right through Central Falls. It’s also relatively frequent, every 40 minutes on weekdays and 45 minutes on weekends.
The bad: I guess the fact it starts at the Job Lot on Ann Mary Street is kinda awkward. Also, does the ridership warrant 40 minute frequency? And, now that I think of it, what’s with weekend trips ending in Pawtucket instead of going the full length? I mean sure, one could transfer to the R Line, but it’s not really a good idea if the hill is snow and ice-coated. Also, why doesn’t this route go all the way to Kennedy Plaza, replacing the 49’s service to Miriam? I mean, it’s pointless but it’s an idea at least. It also barely gets any ridership, before Pawtucket, and in average (as of 2019) gets 415 daily passengers. Definitely better than some routes, but I’m not sure how accurate this is.
Nearby points of interest: Cumberland! There’s also Central Falls, Pawtucket, and a Job Lot in Providence.
Overall, it’s a little weird. It’s not bad or anything, but like, why? The least I’d do is give weekend service to Job Lot in Providence.