Greater City Providence

Wicked Local Westport: Creating an interstate public transit partnership

When it comes to providing public transit to Tiverton, Rhode Island officials may be reinventing the wheel instead of expanding the spokes that are already there.

There is much to be gained. If SRTA and RIPTA followed normal commuter patterns instead of treating as a blockade a state border that motorists and pedestrians cross all the time, it could better link the region’s residents with jobs and educational opportunities crucial to the region’s economic development.

So it is not just us talking about these things.

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’ve often said they should create a super regional transit authority – brand it specifically but combine RIPTA, SEPTA, SIRTA, and even elements of the MBTA under one umbrella.

    That way they could cross state lines without issue.

  • GATRA (Greater Attleboro Taunton Regional Transit Authority) and SRTA (Southeastern Regional Transit Authority).

    I might be worth adding SEAT (Southeast Area Transit District), which serves Norwich, Groton, New London, Mystic, and Pawcatuck. Pawcatuck and Westerly are complementary border towns. The Westerly train station is a five- to ten-minute walk from Pawcatuck. In one of Alon Levy’s blogs he mentioned that something like 4,000 people from Westerly work in the New London area. Unless they use Amtrak, they’re probably driving.

  • Another area where cross-state lines are at issue is connecting the Woonsocket area to Boston via the MBTA commuter rail line that begins in Franklin MA.
    GATRA and the MBTA cross the RI-MA line routinely, but somehow RIPTA cannot do this, they keep explaining why but I can never remember.
    Having one regional agency for transit might also help get compatible fare products. This could help MBTA commuter rail passengers who get off in Providence more easily transfer to RIPTA which has 4 bus lines going there without having to pay an additional $2 for a short ride.

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