Ah RIPTA, proposing some changes to existing services and new routes again. Let’s see what’s on the docket for this round:
– Three new routes, two out of CCRI Warwick, and a Newport/Middletown crosstown route
– Moving the Pawtucket Visitor’s Center bus stop to the Pawtucket/Central Falls MBTA station, with some routes being shortened and others extended
– Axing route 49
– Improving service on routes 13/29 (inc. interlining, in this case), and route 78
Alright, let’s take a more detailed look at the changes.
The new kids on the block
Ah, new routes. Always a joy if done correctly. On the list this round are two new routes originating from CCRI’s Warwick campus with one terminating in Quonset and the other terminating at the Walmart Supercenter in Coventry. The third is a Newport/Middletown crosstown route that originates at the CCRI Newport campus and terminates at the Middletown DHS offices.
– Route 16: A Bald Hill-oriented route made to service the infamous stroad. I hate the road, but it’s a frequently visited part of the state (esp. during the holiday season) that isn’t serviced by the bus system. However, I do have concerns for on-time performance given the fact that Bald Hill Road isn’t exactly known for free-flowing traffic. The route south of Bald Hill and beyond NEIT, though, might be better in the on-time department. Overall, not bad to have supplemental service to Quonset along with the 14, and on the upside East Greenwich is getting additional bus service (if greenlit). Proposed frequency? 1 hour between buses.
– Route 23: A West Warwick-oriented route, largely replacing the West Warwick section of the 29. However, unlike the 29, this route will service the Walmart Supercenter just off I-95 in Coventry. Interestingly, it’s proposed to use Providence Street like the 12X’s inbound trips instead of East Main like the 13 and 29 do. However, much like the 29, this route is proposed to go down Main St. But, unlike the 29, it’ll turn onto Tiogue Avenue instead of Cowesset Ave., and then to Arnold Rd, before meeting up with the New London Turnpike and deviating into Walmart. What I find interesting personally, though, is that there’s a park & ride just on the other side of the interstate that could be just as useful. Maybe rush hour-exclusive runs that deviate into the Exit 7 P&R to facilitate transfers with the 95X? Frequency on this route is proposed at 1 and a half hours to start. It’s something, but could be much better.
– Route 68: A Newport/Middletown crosstown route?! Holy hell! Yup. This route is the result of the 2021 Beach Bus pilot program, which was found largely successful. This route is proposed to bisect Newport via the North End and First Beach, passing through the Gateway Center and terminating at the DHS offices just across the border in Middletown. Much like the 63, it’s proposed to deviate into Town Centre, while largely following the 67 on the southern section until splitting at Bellevue Avenue to continue towards the beach. No headways/frequency was proposed. Will it be hourly? Half-hourly? Who knows.
The other changes
- Route 49’s axing. Not much of a loss, this route is largely rendered useless, given the fact is only runs three times outbound and twice inbound, while the two routes it’s sandwiched between (the R Line and route 1) run considerably more often (up to every 10 minutes on the R Line!)
- Route 78’s frequency increases from every 45 minutes to every 25 minutes. This also ain’t that bad a change, especially given how major a corridor the 78 is. At this point, RIPTA may as well designate it as a key corridor route.
- Route 13/29. Oh boy, this is a doozy. Route 29 is essentially being axed past CCRI and is being interlined with the 13. This means one seat rides between Conimicut and Woodland Manor (if you’re crazy enough). This also means the 29 inherits all of the 13’s qualities (hourly buses, Sunday service being the big two, as well as running later into the night). Both routes are also proposed to run into the 9pm hour on weekdays and Sundays/holidays.
- Pawtucket routes being transplanted to the Pawtucket/Central Falls MBTA station. I can’t really comment on this too much given the MBTA side of things isn’t operational yet. However, a centralized intermodal hub is definitely better than having things spread out. Scheduling will also take a hit as needed to acommodate the new station.