Greater City Providence

RIPTA hearings next week on fare increases and service cuts

Photo by Jef Nickerson

RIPTA News Release [.pdf] on Fare Increases, Service Cuts, and related public hearings next week:

RIPTA to Hold Public Hearings on Proposed Fare Increase and Service Modification
Steep Budget Deficits Driving Proposal

Hearings Scheduled for July 6th, 7th and 8th in Providence, Warwick, Barrington, Newport and Narragansett

PROVIDENCE, RI, June 28, 2010 – The Board of Directors of the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) voted on May 24, 2010, to hold public hearings on proposed fare increases and service modifications in all five Rhode Island counties on July 6, 2010, July 7, 2010 and July 8, 2010. The Authority announced that the proposed fare hikes and modifications in service statewide are due to a carryover deficit from FY 2010 (which began July 1, 2009) of $1.6 million and a $2.1 million shortfall for FY 2011 that is caused principally by a reduction in revenue from the state gas tax.

The proposed fare increases would raise the base fare from $1.75 to $2.00, and impact the cost of RIPTIKs, 10-Ride Passes, 15-Ride Passes, One-Day Passes, 7-Day Passes, Monthly Passes and ADA Fares. If approved by the RIPTA board, the fare increases would take effect September 1, 2010, and the proposed service reductions would take effect in August 2010 when RIPTA implements their regular fall service changes.

Proposed Fare Increases
The Authority is proposing to increase fares as follows:

Fare Media Current Proposed
Base Fare $1.75 $2.00
Seniors/Disabled (off peak) $0.85 $1.00
RIPTIKS (10) $17.50 $20.00
15-RIDE Pass $23.00 $26.00
Monthly Pass* $55.00 $62.00
ADA (RIde Program) $3.50 $4.00

Proposed Service Modifications

Rte. 3 Warwick Avenue Holiday Bus Service* 2,242 per year
Rte. 11 Broad Street Sunday Service After 10PM 67 per day
Rte. 13 Arctic/Washington Saturday Service 285 per day
Rte. 26 Atwells/RI College Saturday Service 150 per day
Rte. 29 Kent County Saturday Service 195 per day
Rte. 30 Arlington/Oaklawn Holiday Bus Service* 1,740 per year
Rte. 33 Riverside Holiday Bus Service* 1,582 per year
Rte. 34 East Providence Holiday Bus Service* 964 per year
Rte. 35 Rumford Sunday Service 200 per day
  Holiday Bus Service* 821 per year
Rte. 52 Branch Avenue Holiday Bus Service** 622 per day
Rte. 54 Lincoln/Woonsocket Morning and Afternoon 60 per day
  Trips to Davies Sunday Service After 10PM 18 per day
Rte. 60 Providence/Newport Sunday Service After 10PM 103 per day
Rte. 63 Broadway Holiday Bus Service* 833 per year
Rte. 64 Newport/URI Saturday Service 60 per day
Rte. 66 URI/Galilee Beach Bus 1,850 per season
  Sunday Service After 10PM 38 per day
  Holiday Bus Service** 1916 per year
Rte. 67 Bellevue/Mansions/Salve Holiday Bus Service*** 90 per year
Rte. 71 Broad Street Reduction of Sunday Service 65 per day
  Through-city to Providence via #99  
  Holiday Bus Service* 1,083 per year
Rte. 72 Weeden/Central Falls Holiday Bus Service* 1,279 per year
Rte. 73 Fairlawn/CCRI Saturday & Sunday Service 127 per day
Rte. 75 Dexter/Lincoln Mall Saturday & Sunday Service 267 per day
  Holiday Bus Service* 433 per day
Rte. 76 Central Avenue Sunday Service 69 per day
Rte. 80 Armistice Blvd. Saturday & Sunday Service 72 per day
Rte. 87 Walnut Hill/Fairmount Holiday Bus Service* 1,225 per year
Rte. 91 Gold Line Trolley Reduce Saturday Service  
Rte. 99 Providence/Pawtucket Sunday Service After 10PM 37 per day

* New Years Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day
** New Years Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day
***New Years Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day

ADA Service will only be available within 3/4 of RIPTA routes and during the same hours.

“Unfortunately, we have to seek a fare increase and modifications to our service to balance the budget. The service modifications will be designed to retain as much service as possible while reducing costs and maximizing efficiency. RIPTA will continue to implement cost-effective reliability improvements including adjusting running times to compensate for congestion. We continually strive to provide the best possible quality of service to our customers with the current funding system we do have.” said RIPTA General Manager Alfred J. Moscola.

Under state law the Authority must post the hearing schedule 30 days prior to holding any public hearings. The posting will appear in area newspapers on Tuesday, June 1, 2010, enabling public hearings to begin on Tuesday, July 6, 2010. All input from the public at the hearings will go to RIPTA’s Board of Directors in July and the board will vote on the fare increases and service modifications proposals at its July 19, 2010 Board meeting. Schedule for Public Hearings on Proposed Fare Increases The public hearings will be held in Warwick, Providence, Barrington, Narragansett and Newport according to the following schedule:

Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Newport Public Library
300 Spring Street
Newport, RI 02840
Time: 2 pm-4 pm & 6 pm-7:45pm
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Barrington Public Library
2nd Floor Auditorium
281 County Road
Barrington, RI 02806
Time: 2 pm-4 pm & 6 pm-8pm
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Warwick City Hall
Council Chambers
3275 Post Road
Warwick, RI 02886
Time: 2 pm-4 pm & 6 pm-8pm
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Narragansett Town Hall
Assembly Room
25 Fifth Avenue
Narragansett, RI 02882
Time: 2 pm-4 pm & 6 pm-8pm
  Thursday, July 8, 2010
University of Rhode Island
Feinstein Providence Campus
80 Washington Street
Providence, RI 02903
Time: 2 pm-4 pm & 6 pm-8pm

A 72-hour notice is required for persons with sensory impairment requiring auxiliary aids at public hearings. To request this service, members of the public should contact the RIPTA ADA Coordinator at 401-784-9553 (TDD) or 800-745-5555 (RI Relay TDD).

For information on RIPTA services, passengers may call 781-9400 or visit

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 remember when it was $40, and a ride on the trolley was $0.50. This was back in 2001. There’s a lot that has been said, and I have tried to be positive and point out solutions where possible. Right now, all I can say is, this sucks.

  • At some point you have to start worrying about a death spiral. As the fare goes up and routes are cut (meaning more inconvenience) less people ride (usually the unsubsidized riders) reducing revenues beyond what the fare hike brings in which means more cuts or rate hikes forcing more riders to abandon the system and so on.

    Something very similar is going on in the healthcare industry. As heath insurance providers raise rates the heathiest customers who incur the least cost drop out of the system leaving only the customers who carry the most burden on insurers.

    In both cases the “model” is essentially broken and cannot be maintained.

  • RIPTA already has the death spiral all planned out. They have a (I think) 5 year plan which basically closes the agency at year 5 if the Assembly does not act to fix funding.

    Of course it is not just RIPTA either. Our entire transportation system, roads, bridges… is untenable. The debt burden will exceed the gas tax in not too many years.

    The Assembly has some politically unpopular things they have to do, but there is no way around it. The CTC did what they could this year to push the Assembly, next session it is going to have to be an all out fight and a massive public education campaign.

  • RIPTA needs to hit a home run with its General Manager search. Hire someone ambitious, with bold ideas who can get the message out and be a strong champion for transit in the state. Wouldn’t hurt if that person is a sqeaky wheel, visible, and constantly in front of the powers that be in state government and the public at-large convincing and demanding that transit get its fair share of transportation funding.

  • 1993 – a pass was $16 through my employer.

    And yes I remember when the trolleys were 50 cents. How it’s changed.

    Interestingly I’ve been taking the #53 to get to work lately (No it’s not Wally World!) and I note when I’m on the bus at 8:33AM I’m either by myself or with one or two other people besides the driver. Surprised that route isn’t getting cut.

  • CTC should start a more aggressive lobbying effort and organize routine demonstrations, when the General Assembly is back in session. Similar pressure should be put on the Governor’s office.

    Bombarding General Assembly members by emails and phone calls would also help. Even if it’s not apparent, elected officials are often swayed by this kind of public pressure. It shouldn’t be underestimated the effect of individuals showing up at the state house to meet their representatives to advocate for an issue.

    CTC’s approach incorporating both roads and transit may help to tamper resistance to likely unpopular funding proposals. It’s critical that as many people as possible join CTC or other advocacy groups and actively participate.

  • I really have no data on ridership and to be honest can’t claim to be a transportation expert….but… it doesn’t stop me from thinking.

    I always had this idea of a hub an spoke system with regards to RIPTA. Use Rapid Bus Transport between the hubs and then use smaller buses running more local routes out from the hubs. With buses on the spoke running shorter local routes they would run more frequently and express runs between hubs might also be able to run more frequently. Kind of like the old trolley systems that ran their own short routes but came together at certain places to allow passengers to transfer.

    I imagined hubs using existing commercial entities ..for example hubs at the Warwick Mall, Lincoln Mall and Kennedy Plaza. The idea would be that people in Warwick, West Warwick, East Greenwich, etc…would ride a local bus to the Warwick Mall then take an express bus downtown or an Express bus up to Lincoln mall to catch a “local” to Woonsocket. The express buses could use 95, 295 and 146 (possibly with dedicated lanes). With today’s GPS technology i think it would be pretty easy to route locals and express in a way that ensures you don’t have a long wait (if any) at a hub.

    The idea that everyone who gets on a bus wants to end up in Providence always seemed flawed to me. I used to get on a bus in Cranston that originated in West Warwick. It never filled up until it hit the Providence line and always emptied out before it left Cranston on the way back. Yet it was spending an additional hour meandering out into West Warwick before it headed back this way.

    I never really fleshed it out; like adding in commuter rail and streetcar scenarios and didn’t venture too far outside the urban core into Washington and Newport Counties. I don’t even know if it would be cost effective…just thinking outside the box a bit.

    So anybody else have any crazy ideas about RIPTA?

  • Just an observation. It just seems to me that RIPTA dedicates a good amount of service to communities that legislate the automobile as the primary mode of transport. If that is the case, is it any wonder why ridership, which is up over the last 10 years, is not enough to provide passenger revenue that offsets the loss in gas tax revenue? Not that these communities do not deserve service. Just saying that zoning which mandates minimum parking requirements among other car-centric ordinances seems to present a mode advantage that RIPTA cannot compete with.

  • How many are taking the bus to the RIPTA hearings?? When I’m on the bus i’ts empty with 100 SUVs on the rode with one passinger per SUV, never more. How many can take the bus to the Fireworks? Not many as the fireworks begin at 9pm and most bus service ends at 10pm from Downtown. No special service to the fireworks!

  • One of RIPTA’s problems is that it’s mission for a really long time was simply to bail out the private bus lines that were failing. Recently they updated their mission statement to reflect the fact that they are supposed to be a mobility manager, not just sustaining ancient bus lines.

    So providing service for special events like the fireworks was never part of their mission. It should be now.

    The other issue with special service is state/local coordination. Since RIPTA is a state agency and the fireworks are a city event, the city would have to make a request, then I’m sure there would be issues about who would pay for the special service.

    It really shouldn’t be this complicated, but it is.

    As for the empty buses, I think a lot of that goes back to their prior mission. Most RIPTA routes are based on really old private carriers, the routes likely don’t make sense anymore. The Metro Transit Study looked at service inside Route 295, now they need to look at service across the rest of the state. Does it make sense to route a bus to West Warwick or East Greenwich or Cumberland along local roads? Should those routes outside the metro area be simple extensions of city routes? Probably not.

    No one wants to get on a bus in Cumberland and take the local roads all the way to Providence, no one would drive that way. Suburban routes would be more enticing if they were feeder routes that then got on the highway and expressed into Providence. And if we had services like that, likely we could charge a premium fare for them.

  • Oh, and as for taking the bus to the hearings… No one can take the bus to the later hearings and Warwick Town Hall, because all the buses that serve the area stop running too early.

    Narragansett Town all is not served directly by bus, and the nearest bus stops running too early for the later meeting.

    I didn’t check the other ones.

  • Have there been any studies that take the Providence commuter out of the mix. What are the ridership numbers for people who require public transportation in around Kent or South County? If the numbers were there (or could be driven there..pardon the pun) could RIPTA partner up with smaller private liveries to get people to and from express routes or commuter rail? Think of it similar (but definitely not exactly) to airline code sharing. Companies that meet established standards of safety and conduct could piggy back onto RIPTA’s electronic ticketing and fare system creating a more seamless ride between points and be able to access RIPTA data to help them route plan. Whether its a full fledged local route or an on demand van pool that runs primarily during commuter time frames. Instead of being a transportation provider RIPTA starts acting more like a tranportation coordinator.

    BTW – I am sure they choose Narragansett Town Hall because it has plenty of parking!

  • Took the bus to the 2pm meeting at URI today. The interesting point was RIPTA has NO plan, Its like a going out of business sale. Their customers had all the ideas to save the company. Mark F. did say, ‘More people should drive hummers so RIPTA could get more gas tax,” His idea of a joke. So it all get dumped in the next Governors lap and they can kick the can down the road till its all over! 21st century thinking.

  • ProJo: RIPTA board approves 14% fare increase

    The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority board approved a fare hike increase yesterday to partially cover the latest in a series of budget deficits.

    But after hearing appeals from groups representing the elderly and disabled, the board put off voting on cutbacks of weekend and holiday service that would affect bus riders on 25 routes.

Providence, RI
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