Tag Archives | Fares

RIPTA Riders Alliance: Suggestions on how to really make transit work


This post was submitted to Greater City Providence by the RIPTA Riders Alliance.

walkinpvd-iconIn consideration of how to “make transit work,” the subject of the December 1st CTC conference which was to address the relatively low rate of commute-by-transit in Rhode Island, the RIPTA Riders Alliance distributed this list of challenges and possible strategies to deal with them.

Mostly it is about operational and promotional improvements rather than big infrastructure capital projects.


1. Lack of operating funds to implement key Strategic Plan goals including increased frequency, route improvements, real-time bus info.


Work with stakeholders, the Governor’s office, and legislators to really establish a funding stream that grows with inflation and need.


2. Very inadequate snow removal from bus stops and shelters after storms.


Convene stakeholder group including Governor’s Office, RIDOT, RIPTA, Lamar, municipalities, snowplow operators, police, DPWs, and advocacy groups to work out plans and responsibilities to address this issue.


3. Bus trips often slow.


Expand signal priority/green light extension to more key lines (e.g. Chalkstone, Elmwood, Cranston Street, etc); make preloaded smart-cards widely available to speed boarding, with discount incentives for their wide use; investigate BRT opportunities and new express services (e.g. Providence-Pawtucket, Newport limited stops)


4. A very significant 30% to 40% of greenhouse gas emissions in the northeast come from transportation, but this is slower to be addressed than energy and commercial sectors.


Addressing climate change is a reason to enhance and promote transit and should be part of the discussion at the task forces that address climate change. Legislation that proposes assessments or taxes on greenhouse emissions should provide funding for public transit operations or infrastructure.

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RIPTA Fare Restructuring Proposals


News from PBN and EcoRI about RIPTA’s proposed fare changes:

Providence Business News: RIPTA eyes expanded service, but who will pay?

A U.S. census survey, called the American Community Survey, in 2013 reported that 2.9 percent of Rhode Islanders used public transportation at least once a week.

Largely because of its small size, Rhode Island has a density that rivals New Jersey — with 1,018 people per square mile. For comparison purposes, 10.8 percent of the New Jersey population used public transportation, while 27 percent of the state of New York did so, according to the census survey.

Rhode Island’s density is what officials at state transportation agencies point to when arguing that increased investment in public transit is a smart move.

[…] Continue Reading →


RIPTA online fare survey



RIPTA Launches Online Transit Fare Survey

Survey Available Through May 1, 2015

Is it easy for passengers to buy tickets and passes to ride the bus? Do we offer the types of fare products they are looking for? The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) wants to know how passengers feel about their fare pricing and products, and is inviting their passengers to take their Transit Fare Study Survey. It is available on RIPTA’s website now through May 1, 2015. Also, copies of the survey are available at the customer service window at Kennedy Plaza and our Commuter Resource Team will be making it available to passengers at various locations, including some Park ‘n Ride commuter lots.

RIPTA is conducting the survey as it embarks on a comprehensive transit fare study that will review all fare products as well as the rates that are charged. One of the main goals of the study – which is expected to take about four months – is to determine if RIPTA is offering the types of fare products that best meet passengers’ needs.

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RIPTA Comprehensive Fare Study


RIPTA is launching a comprehensive fare study to evaluate the types of fare products the agency offers (online re-chargable debit style card please). They will be having public meetings to gather input.


RIPTA Launches Comprehensive Fare Study

First Round of Community Meetings Scheduled for April 14th

The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) is embarking on a transit fare study that will review all fare products it offers as well as the rates that are charged. One of the main goals of the study – which is expected to take about four months ­– is to determine if RIPTA is offering the types of fare products (such as all-day passes, or 15-ride passes) that best meet passengers’ needs.

The RIPTA Board of Directors awarded the contract for the study to LTK Engineering Services of Ambler, Pennsylvania in the amount of approximately $170,500 at its February Board Meeting. “This really will be an in-depth look into how passengers use fares in our system today,” said Amy Pettine, Executive Director of Planning at RIPTA. “We’re going to be looking at what types of fare products and sales locations might make it easier for people to use RIPTA. And we’re also going to be looking at overall issues such as whether we should continue to be ‘one state, one rate’ as well as how we can use fares to create easier connections to commuter rail.”

“This study is also going to give us chance to look at what we may want to offer in the future to take advantage of the latest fare technology like mobile payments and hopefully attract some new riders to our system,” she said.

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Your ‘Charlie Card’ could soon take you further

fares-charlieThe Rhode Island General Assembly is considering a bill to allow the MBTA’s farecard, the Charlie Card, to work on RIPTA:

SECTION 1. Chapter 39-18 of the General Laws entitled “Rhode Island Public Transit Authority” is hereby amended by adding thereto the following section:

39-18-25. Create parity with MBTA commuter passes. – The authority shall consult with the Massachusetts Bay transit authority on the feasibility of allowing commuter rail passes to be used on all Rhode Island public transit authority buses. Such rail passes shall serve as dual Rhode Island public transit authority passes and Massachusetts Bay transit authority passes, if possible. Such consultation shall also include proposed methods to apportion and share the costs of such passes between the two (2) authorities.

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.

I know RIPTA has wanted to crack this nut for some time, with the official blessing of the Assembly, let’s hope they find a way to figure it out. Anything to make utilizing transit easier is a good thing.

h/t to ecoRI News’s Tim Faulkner

MBTA introduces mTicket, but not for us (yet)

Update 11/27: An update of the App was just pushed out on iOS which now includes the south side stations, including Providence.
Apparently, Wickford Junction is not yet included. MBTA says it will be added in the next update.

The MBTA’s new mobile Commuter Rail ticketing app, mTicket, launched today, but only on Commuter Rail lines out of North Station.

We can expect the mTicket system to be available for trips on the Providence line starting later this month, and monthly passes for December will also be able to be purchased using mTicket. The MBTA has an FAQ to answer any questions about the system.

mTicket is available to download for free for the iPhone through iTunes and for Android devices through the Google Play store.


MBTA proposes service cuts, fare increases


MBTA Commuter Rail train at Providence Station. Photo (cc) willismonroe

If the MBTA’s proposals for fare increases and service cuts [.pdf] come to pass, we could be not seeing trains after 10pm or on weekends at Providence Station, or any commuter rail station for that matter. For the remaining trains that continue running, the one-way fare may raise as high as $11.25 from the current $7.75.

While service frequency to T.F. Green was just increased and the train station at Wickford Junction is set to open this spring, the MBTA is facing a monster deficit of $161 million. The deficit was $185 million before the agency knocked $24 million out of it through “efficiencies and savings in energy, operations, health care.” Also, while it is down slightly from 2010 to 2011, non-fare revenue is generally up over the last decade. That leaves fare increases and service cuts as the current last resort for closing the deficit.

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News & Notes

Deadliest for Walkers: Male Drivers, Left Turns [The New York Times]

How To Raise Fares [Planetizen]
Incentivize people to use pre-paid fare products to speed bus boarding by only raising fares for slower cash transactions

Residents Who Live Near Public Transportation Live Healthier, Longer Lives, Study Finds [American Public Transportation Association]

Ceremony kicks off the United States’ high speed future [The Independent]

It is OK to drool


News & Notes

[Boston] Public food market gets $10m promise []
The Boston Public Market will be located along the Greenway in a building close to the location of the current Haymarket. The market is expected to be open in 12-18 months.

RIPTA trying to avoid reductions to bus service [ProJo]

The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority is looking into avoiding service reductions by substituting a fare increase | or perhaps by fundamentally changing its fare structure to make riders pay more for longer trips.

The “Best Place” is no place at all [OnTransport]
Money Magazine’s Best Places to live have no there there.

Wooly Fair 2010 this Saturday [Wooly]

Wooly Fair is Providence’s homegrown art carnival, a vibrant spectacle that showcases the city’s creative community at its most joyful. This year’s theme is Back to Nature, and the fair’s centerpiece is the Flower Tower, a pyramid of container gardens that will be distributed after the July 31st event to hospitals, schools, and other organizations.

paris: the street is ours! [Human Transit]

It’s simple: the default setting for pedestrian signals is green, and they turn red only when your safety requires it. (In Sydney, where I currently live, the opposite rule applies. There, pedestrian signals are always red, but if you push a button and wait patiently, often for a nearly complete cycle of the signal, wondering if you’ve submitted an application to some bureaucrat who will get to it after his lunch break, you’ll finally get green for a few seconds. But don’t blink or you’ll miss it and have to start again.)


News & Notes

Developer Conley sets sights on medical facility for his Providence waterfront land [ProJo]
I don’t really understand why a medical complex would want to locate itself on this site. The future zoning is still very much up in the air, it is a brownfield, and current transit isn’t terrific. Personally, I’d want to see the medical complex described either build on one of the many surface lots in the hospital area, or somewhere in the Jewelry District.

Pecha Kucha, Tonight [Providence Daily Dose]

RIPTA sets hearings on proposed fare hike [ProJo]
In July, across the state.

Daniel Baudouin: In defense of the Blue Cross headquarters tower [ProJo]

Broad Street Pawtucket Pepsi Refresh Challenge [Pepsi Refresh Project]

We envision a revitalized Broad Street that is vibrant, walkable, and attractive. We propose the following programs to help revitalize Broad Street:

  • Providing $75,000 in grants to small businesses
  • Creating a 3 mile bike path
  • Develop 3 community gardens
  • Legalize and encourage sidewalk cafes on Broad St

Here we go again

Photo by Jef Nickerson

ProJo reports that RIPTA is once again, in a now annual tradition, looking at fare hikes and service cuts to balance their budget deficit.

John Rupp, the board chairman, said it will try to design a fare increase that won’t deny people transportation, and it will try to keep any service adjustments from doing more than inconvenience riders.

“We’re trying to target a fare increase that won’t push people off the bus,” he said.

Good luck with that, you raise fares and you reduce service, you’re pushing people off the bus. If I can’t get there from here, then I won’t.

The fare increase sought is $0.25, which would raise fares to $2.00. The chairman claims that will keep RIPTA’s fares inline with other agencies. Actually, if you look just up the road to Boston, you’ll find bus fares between $1.25 and $1.50 depending on which fare product you use. In Austin, Texas (a city with a similar metro size to us) bus fares are $1.00.

Where Austin and Boston both differ from Rhode Island is that they both have express bus services with higher fares than local service. Boston has express bus service costing $2.80 to $5.00 depending how far you go and which fare product you use. Austin’s express bus service costs $2.50. Here in Rhode Island you can travel a route such as the 40, which doesn’t leave the city of Providence, or the 60 which runs all the way from Providence to Newport, or the 54 Express which runs from Providence to the Lincoln Mall non-stop, all for $1.75 ($2.00 if the increase goes through). These are different kinds of service, but they are all treated the same when it comes to the fare charged.

In Boston, express buses have local and express zones. Take the 553 which I used to ride when I lived in Waltham. The 553 starts at Brandeis University, goes through Waltham Center, West Newton, Newtonville, and Newton Corner where it gets on the Mass Pike and runs Express into Boston. If one were to ride the bus between any two points between Brandeis and Newton Corner, one would pay the local fare, if one stays on the bus into Boston, then they must pay the express fare. So the bus provides local service at it’s far end, but a premium is paid if you want to utilize it all the way into the city. A zone structure like this could be instituted on a bus such as the 60 to Newport. One would pay a local fare if they didn’t leave Aquidneck Island for example, or perhaps a local fare zone all the way to Barrington. But if you wanted to ride all the way into Providence, a higher fare would be instituted. Or there could be another version of the 60, a 60 Limited, which would not stop at every stop, thereby speeding the trip and justifying a premium fare.

RIPTA provides various kinds of services but treats them all the same. There is local urban bus service which people use as their primary means of transportation in Providence and Pawtucket and to a lesser extent in the close suburbs and out in Newport. Then there are commuter services, whereby people are parking their cars and getting on the bus to get to jobs in Providence. And there is some reverse commuting where people are taking buses out of Providence to jobs at office parks in the suburbs. And the service that RIPTA is probably least good at, due to it’s hub-and-spoke arrangement, where people are taking the bus from suburb to suburb.

As RIPTA looks towards the future and starts to plan for things such as Streetcars, rapid bus service, more park n’ ride facilities, integrating service with southward expansion of commuter rail, and more, they need to start considering what are the different services they are providing, how they will be operated and prioritized, and what fares are reasonable for each.

Of course the reason for RITPA’s current budget problem is the same as it always is, the gas tax:

The situation is another in a series of fiscal crunches for the authority. It reflects a continuing paradox: as expenses rise, the revenue from a key revenue source, the state fuel tax, is fading. Also, the more successful the authority is at persuading drivers to take the bus, the less fuel they buy and the less money the transit agency gets. The same is true whenever gas consumption declines. The fuel tax is linked to the number of gallons sold rather than to the price.

There are some working to free RIPTA from the gas tax Catch-22 it is trapped in now. The Coalition for Transportation Choices (CTC) is supporting a legislative package that will help RIPTA free itself from dependance on the gas tax and help RIDOT from depending so much on issuing bonds to make the money they need to match federal dollars.

The CTC supports an increase in the biannual auto registration fee to $40, a Petroleum Products Gross Receipts Tax, and a Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) tax. The VMT would be studied this year before moving to implement it, the registration fee and Petroleum Products Gross Receipts Tax could go in to effect now and raise $67 million annually for RIDOT, RIPTA, and local cities and towns to repair roads.

Year after year after year after year we end up here. RIPTA saying they don’t have enough money and have to cut service and raise fares. And Year after year after year after year the Assembly does nothing to change the fact that it is the gas tax trap that is causing this.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Let’s stop being insane.


RIPTA Hearings on proposed fare hikes

Board Votes to Hold Public Hearings on Proposed Fare Increases
RIPTA’s board of directors voted at it’s April 7th meeting to hold public hearings on proposed fares increases.

Sharp hikes in the cost of fuel are behind the fare increase proposal.

“Unfortunately, we have to seek fare increases to compensate for some of the steep increases in fuel costs. Fuel costs have more than tripled since FY 2002 when we paid on average 87 cents for a gallon of fuel. We’re now averaging about $3.27 a gallon for the current fiscal year. Fare increases won’t absorb the full impact of the higher cost of fuel, but they will help, said RIPTA General Manager Alfred J. Moscola.

If approved, the proposed fare increases would raise the base fare from $1.50 to $1.75 and include the following changes:

Fare Media Current Proposed
Base Fare $1.50 $1.75
Seniors/Disabled (off peak) $0.75 $0.85
Cash Transfer $0.10 $0.50
RIPTIKS (10) $15.00 $17.50
15-RIDE Pass $20.00 $23.00
Monthly Pass* $45.00 $55.00
(*increase would apply to July Monthly Passes that are purchased in June)
ADA (RIde Program) $3.00 $3.50

Here’s the public hearing schedule:

Thursday, May 8, 2008
University of Rhode Island
Feinstein Providence Campus
Room 260
80 Washington Street
Providence, RI 02903
Time: 2 pm-4 pm & 6 pm-8 pm

Friday, May 9, 2008
Warwick City Hall
Council Chambers
3275 Post Road
Warwick, RI 02886
Time: 2 pm-4 pm & 6 pm-8 pm

Friday, May 9, 2008
Narragansett Town Hall
Assembly Room
25 Fifth Avenue
Narragansett, RI 02882
Time: 2 pm-4 pm & 6 pm-8 pm

Monday, May 12, 2008
Newport Pubic Library
Program Room
300 Spring Street
Newport, RI 02840
Time: 2 pm-4 pm & 6 pm-8pm

Monday, May 12, 2008
Barrington Public Library
2nd Fl. Auditorium
281 County Road
Barrington, RI 02806
Time: 2 pm-4 pm & 6 pm-8pm