RHODE ISLANDERS NEED GOOD PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
- For many people in Rhode Island, RIPTA is their only form of transportation.
- In many areas, including the Eastside and Downtown, lack of parking makes it difficult or costly to drive to work.
- Many riders have attended hearings to oppose service cuts.
- In September ‘08, thirty local college students attended the RIPTA Board’s monthly meeting to protest service cuts. Because of the loud protests, the board adjourned before it conducted any business.
- There is high demand for public transportation in Rhode Island. RIPTA ridership has grown 35% over the past 5 years. Everyday, 10 to 15 RIPTA buses pass people by because they’re already full.
BIG CUTS ARE COMING
- RIPTA plans to cut bus service by 20% in order to make up for a $10.8 million gap in the budget.
- Many RIPTA employees may be let go, adding to Rhode Island’s current 9.3% unemployment rate.
- Many RIPTA bus routes may be cut. The current proposal includes:
Reduction in Trip Frequency or Number of Trips
Rte1 Eddy Street, Rte. 34 East Providence, Rte. 11 Broad Street, Rte. 42 Hope Street, Rte. 17, Dyer Avenue, Rte. 50 Douglas Avenue, Rte. 18 Union Avenue, Rte. 52 Branch Avenue, Rte. 19 Plainfield Street, Rte. 54 Woonsocket (all express trips eliminated), Rte. 20 Elmwood Avenue, Rte. 56 Chalkstone Avenue, Rte. 28 Hartford Avenue, Rte. 57 Smith Street, Rte. 30 Oaklawn Avenue, Rte. 77 Benefit/Broadway, Rte. 31Cranston Street, Rte. 99 Providence/Pawtucket, Rte. 33 Riverside
Service Ends at 7 pm on Weekdays
Rte. 1 Eddy Street, Rte. 17 Dyer Avenue, Rte. 3 Warwick Avenue, Rte. 19 Plainfield Street, Rte. 11 Broad Street, Rte. 20 Elmwood Avenue, Rte. 13 Arctic/Washington, Rte. 22 Pontiac Avenue, Rte. 26 Atwells/RIC, Rte. 57 Smith Street, Rte. 27 Manton Avenue, Rte. 60 Providence/Newport, Rte. 28 Hartford Avenue, Rte. 63 Broadway, Rte. 30 Oaklawn Avenue, Rte. 66 URI/Galilee, Rte. 31 Cranston Street, Rte. 67 Bellevue, Rte. 33 Riverside, Rte. 71 Broad Street, Rte. 34 East Providence, Rte. 72 Weeden Street, Rte. 42 Hope Street, Rte. 76 Central, Rte. 50 Douglas Avenue, Rte. 77 Benefit/Broadway, Rte. 52 Branch Avenue, Rte. 78 Beverage Hill, Rte. 54 Woonsocket, Rte. 87 Fairmount/Walnut Hill, Rte. 55 Admiral Street, Rte. 92 Green Line Trolley, Rte. 56 Chalkstone, Rte. 99 Providence/Pawtucket
Service Ends at 7 pm on both Saturday & Sunday
Rte. 1 Eddy Street, Rte. 56 Chalkstone, Rte. 3 Warwick Avenue, Rte. 57 Smith Street, Rte. 11 Broad Street, Rte. 60 Providence/Newport, Rte. 19 Plainfield Street Rte. 66 URI/Galilee, Rte. 20 Elmwood Avenue, Rte. 67 Bellevue, Rte. 22 Pontiac Avenue Rte. 71 Broad Street, Rte. 27 Manton Avenue,Rte. 72 Weeden Street, Rte. 28 Hartford Avenue, Rte. 99 Providence/Pawtucket, Rte. 31 Cranston Street, Rte. 33 Riverside, Rte. 34 East Providence, Rte. 42 Hope Street, Rte. 50 Douglas Avenue, Rte. 54 Woonsocket
RI NEEDS A STRONG TRANSIT SYSTEM THAT IS WELL FUNDED AND WELL MANAGED
- Investment in public transportation has been an important tool for economic growth in places such as Portland, Oregon, or through projects such as the PATH System between New Jersey and New York.
- RIPTA’s funding source is self-defeating. The agency gets 7.25 cents of the state’s 31-cent-per-gallon gas tax. As the price of gas goes up, people drive less and RIPTA’s gas tax revenues go down.
- The price of diesel fuel, the gas buses use, went up too, making it more expensive to run the system.
- The general manager of RIPTA, Alfred J Moscola, gets paid $160,000, which is $48,000 more than the Governor of Rhode Island.
- RIPTA employees receive an expensive benefits package. Employees who opt out of health insurance get up to $5,000 a year added to their annual salary, can cash in a week’s vacation, and when they retire they get paid for unused sick leave. Last year these union benefits add one million dollars to the RIPTA budget.
- Many bus drivers earn more than $70,000 a year due to overtime gained from working 10 to 11 hour shifts.
- The federal government favors highway expansion and not local public transportation, and therefore there are fewer resources devoted to mass transit issues although they currently impact 65% of the country.
- RIPTA’s funding formula needs to be broadened. Ideas include payroll taxes to tolls on interstate 95 to a surcharge on automobile registration fees.
Courtesy of Flo Jonic at WRNI. To hear Jonic’s full audio commentary on the RIPTA crisis, go to
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