Hehe, nice. Alright, I promise for this one I’ll keep the sex jokes to a minimum. Yes, I’m fully aware that the route is numbered 69. And yes, I’m aware I’m gonna have to do the T’s route 69 at some point. And with that out of the way, here’s a history lesson.
So, in the before times, RIPTA didn’t have the 69. Or rather, it existed, just as another part of the 66. As such, for short trips, RIPTA also had the 62 to supplement the 66. But, in fall 2021, RIPTA decided “well shoot, the 62 isn’t getting ridership, and the area south of URI isn’t that much a ridership generator.” (I presume) and thus, they axed the 62, gave additional resources to the 66 for 30 minute headways, and created the 69, a dedicated URI-Galilee route. So, is the route a 6.9/10? Let’s see.
The route leaves URI and goes left down Kingstown Road, and goes right to stay on Kingstown Road. From here, it’s going through largely woodlands until eventually the route enters the village of Peace Dale. Who’s Dale and why does he want peace, is beyond me. We go through the village and take the first exit at the roundabout down High Street. It’s still the same, eventually also passing South Kingstown Town Hall, and banging a left down Main Street. From here, we keep going straight, entering Wakefield and going past the Wakefield Mall. It’s here that connections to the 65X can be made. Shortly after the mall, oh shit we’re express!
Now, it was short as two exits later, we were off and we deviated into Salt Pond Plaza. A man got off here, and we kept going down Point Judith Road. It was largely quiet with mostly houses, and eventually we banged a left down Burnside Ave. Well shoot, looks like we gotta deviate into Scarborough Beach. Fortunately, it wasn’t that much a deviation as we didn’t pull into the beach itself. But unfortunately we went right onto Knowlesway. At the end of the street, I pulled the stop request cord and got off for a convenience store lunch.
Alrighty, now for a deviation into a Cumby’s review! The store is nice and big, but not too big, and it was clean. Plus, everything was organized. There was also seating, albeit slightly uncomfy!
And back to your regularly-scheduled programming!
So, the bus picked me up at the same stop an hour later, and holy hell it looked like it was from the middle ages. Anyways, from here, it was a straight shot down Point Judith Road and Sand Hill Cove Road. We then went past Roger Wheeler State Beach and went through the Galilee circulator road, where the route ends at the ferry terminal.
The good: It times up with the Block Island Ferry pretty well, well, for some runs that is. It also times with the 66 pretty well, for connections to Providence and points northbound, with some trips interlining. It’s also frequent enough to where it makes sense, with a bus every hour, but not too frequent that the ridership doesn’t warrant it….sometimes.
The bad: Sometimes, I think it might warrant a frequency boost during the summer. Most people taking this route would probably be taking it for the Block Island Ferry, so why not make summer runs until 7pm run every half hour, like how the 67 would become every 20 minutes during tourism season? Also, sometimes it times really horribly with the Ferry, though that’s on the ferry operators instead of RIPTA.
Nearby points of interest: Salt Pond Plaza, Wakefield, Peace Dale, and URI. You also have Galilee and Block Island!
Overall, it’s a pretty darn good route for what it is. Sure, it could use a frequency boost (or runs that skip Salt Pond) during the summer, but outside the summer months it isn’t a very terrible route whatsoever. And hey, it serves three beaches! However, though, the timing with the ferry could be a little better.
Rating: 6.9/10 …jk, it’s actually a 7/10