Oh boy, the final route! Is it really worth the hype of being a grand finale? Well, let’s find out. I can safely say that the weather is befitting, as it may as well be monsoon season.
So, the route does the Downcity Loop, with its last stop being Kennedy Plaza. From here, it immediately goes express onto I-95 northbound, where we hit quite a bit of traffic. Fortunately, most of it is from merging, and we then took the next exit onto Rte. 146 northbound. From here, it quickly became woodlands. But hey, at least we got to skip the 54’s Twin River, CCRI, and North Central deviations! Unfortunately….
We still had to deviate into the Lincoln Mall. And not the front. As we went into the mall, two announcements played. “Approaching: Lincoln Mall. Approaching: The park & ride at…Lincoln Mall.” Yeah, apparently the CinemaWorld parking lot, which neither the 54 or 75 serve, is a park & ride lot. From here, we went back on the freeway.
At this point, only two others remained on the bus. However, once we got to Park Square (after skipping Walmart), they got off and walked to Stop & Shop. Man, RIPTA and/or RIDOT oughta put a park & ride lot around here. Nevertheless, we pressed on up Smithfield Road instead of taking a right down Providence Street, going up through Union Village. Apparently there was another park & ride along this stretch, with the only stop being named “Great at 601 Great”, with the announcement saying “The park & ride at Branch Village.” No lots were to be seen, though, unless I missed it. We were near the end though, as all the rural housing and businesses passed right by. We crossed Route 146 again, now called the North Smithfield Expressway, and reached the final light. There it was, Brigido’s Market, or rather, “The park & ride at Slatersville Plaza”. It was here that I got off, with no way back aside from a $13 Uber. I’ve finally 100%’d RIPTA.
The good: It’s a direct link between Slatersville, Branch, and Union Villages to Providence and Lincoln! For those using it as a park & ride (as intended), it’s also quite accessible.
The bad: If you don’t have a car or an Uber ready, and you need to get somewhere only accessible by this route, good luck. Be ready for a lot of walking. On a more serious note, what’s with the unsigned bus stop in the back side of the Lincoln Mall? Hell, even Slatersville is signed! And, where’s the “park & ride” in Branch Village? And, there should be one at Park Square, given a few people got off.
Nearby points of interest: I mean, there’s Slatersville (with no way back) and the Lincoln Mall, along with North Smithfield and Woonsocket. There’s also downtown Providence!
Overall, this route’s an important link. It’s a direct express connection between the middle of nowhere in northern RI and downtown Providence. Ridership puts it as the 2nd least used express, at 59 people daily, which today probably still holds true, as my ride had 4 others. As for giving this express a local-running counterpart up north? I’d add it as part of a fixed route version of the 282 Flex.
…wow. I’ve finally done it. I’ve ridden every fixed RIPTA route (for now, anyways). I’ve actually done it. Now, I’d like to give some thanks, namely to Wintry, for tagging along for a couple of these posts and giving insight into various routes (e.g. the 13 going to Providence and being a hot mess historically), Taser for coming along for several of these routes, the folks on the Miles in Transit Discord (as well as anyone reading, who ISN’T from there), the operators who make the system chug along. Also, shoutout to that one Asian guy from the Miles in Transit server that Wintry and I encountered as we were doing the 16 (his username slips past my mind), and another shoutout to “what is life” from the Miles in Transit Discord for essentially sending me down this rabbit hole with the challenge of doing the 10x. But, most importantly, I’d like to thank you, the person reading this right now, for reading my content (Whether or not you enjoy, is a different story). From here, I guess I’m done with RIPTA for now, until any new fixed routes come to be (or if any change considerably enough), and when the Pawtucket train station opens up. As for future plans, I’ll probably attempt to tackle another nearby RTA next. In the interim, I’ll also be slowly hacking away at the various T stations and routes as I ride them, though admittedly I’m a bit hesitant to do the bus system knowing the redesign exists and is likely going into effect at some point in the slightly far future.
With all that, thank you, everyone.
Huh, what’s this? Huh, apparently someone suggested I do the Silver Line’s BRT stations on my next day off. Whelp, stay tuned for Silver Line Way, folks!