RIPTA plans service changes to URI, CCRI, Jefferson Boulevard

THE R.I. PUBLIC TRANSIT Authority is planning a series of service changes to the West Bay and South County. / COURTESY R.I. PUBLIC TRANSIT AUTHORITY

WARWICK – The R.I. Public Transit Authority is planning several changes to routes in the West Bay and South County, aimed at offering more consistent or frequent service, including at the University of Rhode Island.

The public transit authority hopes to capture more student travelers at URI, which has a new policy that prevents first-year students from having cars on campus, said Scott Avedisian, CEO of the R.I. Public Transit Authority.

The changes would align two existing routes serving the campus, to provide more frequent or predictable service. In the past, the two routes serving the campus didn’t stop at the same locations. One would go to the Wickford Junction train station in North Kingstown, while the other would go to T.F. Green Airport, explained Greg Nordin, RIPTA’s chief of strategic advancement.

“The problem is that it is very confusing for passengers,” Nordin said, adding, the realigned routes will offer more frequent and consistent service.

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Other changes are aimed at improving bus service in the West Bay, where the agency plans to build a passenger waiting area and bus hub at the Community College of Rhode Island in Warwick, using federal funds. Another bus hub is planned at URI.

An express service will connect CCRI to URI.

As part of the changes, Route 8X (Buttonwoods) would be discontinued. A realigned Route 14 will serve the business corridor of Jefferson Boulevard with more frequent, hourly service. In the past, Route 8X only stopped on the boulevard sporadically.

Several office parks and industrial parks are located on the boulevard, Avedisian said.

“There is a lot of potential to get riders there,” he said. “This gives us an ability to serve West Bay business parks in a different way.”

RIPTA has scheduled virtual public hearings on the proposed changes at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Thursday. The changes are proposed to take effect in the fall. Additional changes to service are expected next year, as part of a long-term planning process.

Changes can be viewed at ripta.com/Fall2021.

Mary MacDonald is a staff writer for the PBN. Contact her at MacDonald@PBN.com.

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