Say, you know how most express routes generally run mostly on freeways? So, what if you took that, and threw it all out? Well, meet the 61X
WARNING: copious amounts of caps ahead. Read with caution.
So the route, of course, begins with the Downcity Loop and Kennedy Plaza. From here it go- wait, what?! Why are we going back into Kennedy Plaza?! Oh for God’s sake…we’re going into the East Side then, I guess. So, instead of going straight onto I-95 like any sensible express, we go into the dark depths of Providence’s East Side!
So, we popped out of the East Side tunnel and went down Waterman Street and across the Henderson Bridge like any East Side route. But, we stayed on the East Side expressway to the second exit! Oooooo! From here, we take a right and bisect the bowtie junction of East Providence. We then go left, and left again and HOLY CRAP WE’RE EXPRESS! FINALLY! We then continue expressing down the East Shore Expressway and right into our first park & ride: White Church, Barrington.
The route then largely follows the 60 through Barrington and Warren. However, past Police Cove Park, the route goes left down Franklin Street and towards another park & ride lot, not served (but within walking distance) by the 60. Further up the street, and a right turn later, we were on Metacom Avenue.
From here, it was largely a straight shot down Metacom Avenue, passing by bogstandard houses and businesses. Sadly, none of the historical town center stuff that the 60 gets. Not that it matters. Also, why isn’t there a non-express Metacom route?! I mean, I’m sure the 60 used to come down here, but like, why isn’t there an abridged version of said route? I’ll get into details later. After a long ride down Metacom, we finally reach Roger Williams University …with an announcement for Tower Hill Road and Phillips Street? Wait, are we in Wickford now?! The driver then asked me if I was going all the way to Tiverton. I said no, since I needed a way back without the risk of being stranded. And, it was at the Boyd’s Lane park & ride that the trip ends. However, I have been to Fish Road before, on the 24L. That’ll be the last pic among the ones below.
The good: It’s a sorta-express link to Providence via the East Bay and Tiverton! There’s also an early morning and early afternoon reverse trip (outbound am, inbound pm) that serves TPI Composites in Swansea, MA. Speaking of which…
The bad: Why are the reverse runs more express than the normal ones? And no, I’m not doing a part 2 for those runs. Furthermore, why does this route, not the 60, go through the East Side and East Providence?! Just, why?! And plus, stop X is literally where it is for a reason – SO ROUTES CAN JUST FREAKIN’ PULL OUT STRAIGHT ONTO I-95 INSTEAD OF BANGING A U-TURN TO GO INTO THE DARK FREAKIN’ DEPTHS OF THE EAST SIDE! At this point, just have a Metacom-centered route that connects at the Boyd’s Lane park & ride, and at the Shaw’s in Riverside at the 33’s terminus. Shoot, forgot I had bold/italics on for all that. Oh well. “Oh but they did it to consolidate the 60” you might say. WELL WHY DIDN’T THEY MAKE THE 60 LESS EXPRESS THAN THE 61X?! THAT’D BE LIKE IF THE 95X RAN LOCAL ALL THE WAY DOWN THROUGH CHARLESTOWN AND WAKEFIELD INSTEAD OF DOWN I-95 CLEANLY.
Nearby points of interest: Tiverton….with little in the way of getting out, save for the 24L (if you can time it right). There’s also the stuff along Metacom, which should be served regularly instead of weekday peak-only.
Overall, what were they thinking with this?! Like, it’s hardly express, and the route it’s supposed to be more express than, is more express than this! What the hell, RIPTA?! Here’s how I’d fix this. I’d make a route that terminates at the Boyd’s Lane park & ride lot, go up through Metacom Avenue, deviate into Stop & Shop along with Job Lot, and go down Market Street (saving Franklin Street for the 61X only). Then, go up RI-114 to the Shaw’s plaza and either end there, or keep going up and go down Willett Avenue (U-turn required) and end at the Shaw’s there, providing a connection to the 33 (Riverside)33. Call it, I dunno, the 36 or something. At least it still serves an important purpose, being to link Tiverton and Little Compton residents to Providence via transit, given that area is largely forgotten about in state politics.