Oh boy, looks like we’re heading to South County today! What’s this? Ooh, an express route! Let’s see if the 65X is as good as some other people make it out to be.
Normally, the route begins at the Dunk and Convention Center and does the Downcity Loop, but I boarded it at Kennedy Plaza. From here, it was basically a straight shot onto the interstate southbound.
From here, we hauled down the interstate at a steady 60 or so miles an hour, passing by the hospital, the building where various radio stations broadcast from, Nibbles Woodaway (no shot sadly 🙁 ), and eventually various exits. Unlike the 66, we were able to skip the T.F. Green Airport and CCRI deviations, and take exit 9 onto RI-4. However, we still had to deviate off RI-4 at exit 5 to serve a park and ride lot. A few people got off here. From here, we kept going straight down South County Trail, passing a few businesses in a not very dense area, and then deviated into Wickford Junction. Nobody got off here. We then got back on RI-4.
Eventually, the freeway numbering ended after the exit for Wickford Junction. From here, it was two red lights and…wait, what?! WHY IS THERE A BUS STOP OUT HERE OF ALL PLACES?!?! Yeah, I’m confused on that
From here, we went down US-1, passing by a whole lot of rural houses. Some businesses were mixed in too, as well as farmlands. Nevertheless, it was quite the long road and- WHY ARE THERE RED LIGHTS ON A FREEWAY?! That’s what pisses me off about this section of freeway, between US-1 from Westerly to RI-4, and RI-4 before exit 3. Are the NIMBYs that hellbent on not having decent-flowing traffic?! Anyways, enough of me ranting. We deviated into another park and ride lot at the Hannah Robinson Tower at the intersection of US-1 and Bridgetown Road. A couple of people got off here. From here, it was largely a straight shot to Wakefield, passing by the DMV and a development, South County Commons.
The good: It’s a direct link (mostly) between Wakefield, Wickford Junction, and downtown Providence. And it shows, too! It’s the most-used express route in the system, with an average of 142 people using it on weekdays. The schedule also shows this, with 6 inbound trips in the morning spaced 15 minutes apart, and 5 outbound trips spaced half an hour apart. Plus it skips most of the 66’s deviations, meaning it gets better run time than that.
The bad: It’s a very long ride. There’s just no way around the fact that any bus ride from Kennedy Plaza to South County is going to inherently be long. Also, the fact the bus route just abruptly ends seemingly at Wakefield feels a little weird, but that’s a minor nitpick. What’s with the odd outbound trip to Galilee, too? It’s not even noted on the schedule, nor does it have an inbound counterpart! Hell, it may as well become a Galilee express. I’m sure it’d be better as one, anyways, and if a Galilee express does become a thing it should at least have round trips that time with the Block Island Ferry outside the morning and evening peaks. Apparently RIPTA snuck in an extra timepoint – to Salt Pond Plaza, on every trip. Cool.
Nearby points of interest: Wakefield! Also, Wickford Junction. One can transfer to the 69 to Galilee and URI, as well. One could also include Salt Pond.
Overall, it’s largely what an express route should be: direct, fast, and mostly deviation-free (excepting park & ride lots). It also shows with the ridership this thing gets, being the most-used express. Amusingly (or quite sad, rather), is that it’s faster to take this bus route to Providence, than it is to take the MBTA.
UPDATE: I have found out RIPTA has, presumably silently, added Salt Pond Plaza to all trips. Gee, thanks!
Original rating: 7/10