Greater City Providence

Save RIPTA petition

The Sierra Club of Rhode Island has started a petition to urge the Governor and the General Assembly to properly fund RIPTA and avoid service cuts.

With demand for transit service at record levels, now is NOT the time to reduce bus service in Rhode Island. Public transportation is vital to the health of the state’s economy and environment, and it benefits riders and non-riders alike. RIPTA provides affordable convenient access to transportation that makes it possible for those who can’t drive to get where they need to go, lowers individual transportation costs, eases congestion, and reduces carbon emissions. Public transportation also makes important contributions towards alleviating the serious national challenge of energy security, and it encourages more active lifestyles that help combat the obesity epidemic.

Unfortunately, RIPTA has a structural deficit problem because its funding comes from the declining revenues of the gas tax, at the same time that its operating costs are increasing due to higher fuel prices. For the economic, environmental, and social well-being of Rhode Island, we call on the General Assembly and Governor to create a secure and stable funding mechanism to ensure that there will be no cuts to public transportation service.

Go to to view and add your name to the petition.

Jef Nickerson

Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.


  • I commend the Sierra Club leadership for arranging this petition and organizing for the hearings. I think the more that sign on and the more that turn out for the hearings the better.

    That said, in this political end economic climate, my judgement is that in order to get more public (taxpayer) support, RIPTA will have to take a number of steps to get its house in order.

    I think this will include some judicious service cuts where warranted (for example on Thanksgiving and Christmas when the state pretty much shuts down), concessions by employees, especially on workrules and/or overtime, dealing appropriately with non-productive employees if any, higher fare for the long distance express rides, small fare contributions by those who now ride free, fare changes to give paratransit riders incentives for shorter trips, and better marketing to increase revenue from paying riders. But taxpayers have to step up too, we cannot maintain a system on a gas tax revenue stream that doesn’t even keep up with inflation, in fact declines as cars get more efficient or use alternate fuels.

  • The gas tax is not sustainable on any level in the long run. I firmly believe in a mileage tax. It will hurt those who have to drive long distances for work, but without a good public transportation system, those who rely on it are also hurt.

    I think RIPTA is at a point where they need to realize that the 1 fare for anywhere in the state, while nice and easy, is not sustainable. A trip from Providence to Newport costs RIPTA a whole lot more than a trip from Kennedy Plaza to Eagle Square. I think a higher fare for longer trips, even if the bus is not express plus an even higher fare for express trips will help RIPTA quite a bit.

    I also think that those who currently ride free (I’m talking about people the state “pays” for, not college students whose colleges pay their fare) should have to pay something.

  • I am in favor of mileage taxes because I’m sick of snooty Prius drivers.

    In all honestly, whenever anything boils down to “we need more revenue” politicians can typically be counted on to make the worst decision for everyone. Gas taxes by nature are regressive, so increasing revenue in that area means putting more of a strain on the lower levels on income. You can decide whether that is a good or bad thing.

    Regardless, it would be nice of they could tune the service to reduce the entitlements (other places have listed them and I’m not going to repeat them) and also changed a bit of the hub and spoke system that makes taking the bus exceptionally inconvenient for anyone that doesn’t work downtown.

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