The weekday only service by the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) will provide bus transportation three times in the early morning from Tiverton to Kennedy Plaza in Providence, and returning from the Plaza three times in the late afternoon to Tiverton.
The beginning and ending point in Tiverton is the Fish Road Park-n-Ride near the intersection of Fish Road and Route 24 (at Exit 6).
Robin Correia, 47, of Tiverton, was the first passenger Monday morning to take advantage of the newly restored service.
Amidst political leaders and RIPTA officials, who had gathered to celebrate the restoration of service — and for early morning coffee provided by Coastal Roasters at the Tiverton Park-n-Ride — Ms. Correia boarded a bus for her hour long ride to Providence.
“It’s better than driving to Portsmouth to catch a bus there,” she said.
Ms. Correia, a recent student at Johnson and Wales, is hunting for a job in accounting while she works on her bachelors degree in the subject. She plans to study for a masters degree in the field.
Ms. Correia was joined a few minutes later by Mary Walker, 49, from South Tiverton, who said she was headed to Providence where she works as a budget and personnel administrator. She said she plans to ride every day.
“This is very convenient now that I don’t have to drive to Portsmouth, and the times work perfectly with my work schedule,” she said.
Shortly after the first bus left, Al Sousa, 70, of Tiverton stopped by to pick up a schedule that was on the table with the celebratory coffee and pastries.
“It’s about time this side of the state was recognized for services,” he said. Mr. Sousa said he was “retired and enjoying life,” and had been an accountant with Raytheon. He said he might ride the bus to Providence and get bus service from there to the airport (and presumably save on parking).
When the second bus of the morning arrived, to depart at 6:51, Lisa McGreavy got on board, headed for Providence, where she works for the Department of Environmental Management as a senior environmental planner. She said she just moved from Tiverton to Westport.
“I think it’s great,” she said about the bus service. “I used to take the bus years ago, and I’m glad the service is back in town.”
Among public officials present were State Representative John G. Edwards (Dist.70) and Senators Walter Felag (Dist.10) and Chris Ottiano (Dist.11).
Mr. Edwards has been active in seeking the restoration of Tiverton service.
“It’s been six years, six years, since there’s been service here, as long as I’ve been representing the district,” Mr. Edwards said.
Also present, to observe and to take some photos, was Little Compton resident Brett McKenzie. “I’m just a booster of RIPTA, and I’m here to show the flag. It’s a terrific idea,” he said.
Some years ago RIPTA bus service had been regular to and from Tiverton, but was discontinued, at least in part due to weight restrictions on the old Sakonnet Bridge. Low ridership was also cited as a factor, but it was never clear whether numbers alone were determinative.
Mark Therrien, Assistant General Manager for Planning and Communications at RIPTA, who was present for the re-start of services Monday morning, said RIPTA’s projections pegged passenger numbers “probably at five to eight per day.”
At this time, he said, bus service will not extend through Tiverton up into Fall River. It is probably more likely, he said, that SRTA in Massachusetts (the Southeastern Regional Transit Authority) will at some point extend service from Fall River down into Tiverton.
The restored RIPTA service will provide a trip between starting and ending points (Tiverton/Providence) that takes approximately one hour.
The route the buses will take includes 10 stops along the way, four of them Park-n-Rides (Tiverton, Portsmouth, Warren, the White Church).
The bus will travel along Metacom Avenue, stop on Joyce Street near Warren Town Hall, and will go through the Eastside of Providence, with a stop at the tunnel on Thayer Street.
Buses will depart the Tiverton Park-n-Ride early in the morning (at 6:23, 6:51, and 7:21), and will run from Kennedy Plaza to Tiverton late weekday afternoons (departing at 4:10, 4:40 and 5:10).
Regular fares will be $2 cash. Seniors who are disabled can ride for $1. Low income persons with a disability or who are over 65 may ride free of charge with a RIPTA No Fare ID pass.