Some of the potential changes include the elimination of service to West Barrington on one line, the extension of service from Riverside to Maple Avenue on another line and an increased frequency of stops to the White Church park and ride.
RIPTA spokeswoman Amy Pettine said the proposals are the result of a comprehensive operations analysis conducted last year.
Ms. Pettine said the changes are cost neutral with a goal of making routes as direct as possible and trying to increase the frequency of service in areas with high ridership.
RIPTA posted each possibility online earlier this month to get public feedback. The agency is also hosting public forums around the state including a session today, March 6, at Barrington Public Library from 6 to 8 p.m.
Ms. Pettine described the Newport-to-Providence route as one of the state’s “powerhouse” lines and, under the study, buses could be making more frequent appearances along the route. The regional link utilizes Route 114 to connect downtown Providence with the East Bay and Aquidneck Island.
The study states service could be improved along the route by adding more consistent service, such as increasing stop frequency to every 15 minutes during peak hours and every 30 minutes during off peak hours. The study also calls for a 60X route that would serve the same route with a focus on fewer stops.
Each route addressed in the study contains two possible scenarios. One possible scenario for Route 33, which currently ends at the Shaw’s on Riverside, is an extension to Maple Avenue in Barrington utilizing Routes 103 and 114. This proposal also links Route 33 with Route 60, allowing riders to grab the link to Newport without having to travel to Providence.
One online comment described the link of Routes 33 and 60 as “brilliant” and “extremely useful” while another said an extension to Maple Avenue would be “fantastic.”
Both Route 33 proposals also call for consistent periods of time between stops of 30 minutes during the day and 60 minutes at night.
Those living in West Barrington, meanwhile, could be facing a longer walk to the bus stop.
Route 32, which currently extends to Bay Spring Avenue, is proposed for an alteration that would keep it contained entirely to East Providence. The line could even be re-named from West Barrington to East Providence/Wampaonag Trail.
The study states the line has “relatively low” transit demand and low ridership. The move would shift the route to an area with high demand and increase productivity.
Those who live in the area, however, aren’t too excited about the proposal. A number of online comments criticize the possibility. One writer said they live on Grant Street and the move would force them to take a 20 to 30 minute walk to catch the bus.
Possible changes to bus routes
RIPTA is proposing route changes around the state including a few alterations in Barrington:
– Route 32: A peak-only route currently running from Bay Spring Avenue to Kennedy Plaza. The route has “relative low transit demand” and low ridership.
Both scenarios call for a route shift that would move the line completely out of Barrington, into East Providence.
– Route 33: A regular route that operates between Riverside (near the Barrington line) and downtown Providence. One scenario would keep 33’s alignment as is with consistent periods of time between stops of 30 minutes during the day and 60 minutes in the evening. A second scenario proposes to extend the route from Shaw’s on Willett Avenue in Riverside to Maple Avenue using Routes 103 and 114. This scenario proposes similar 30 and 60 minute periods of time between stops and a possible connection with Route 60, which services Newport to Providence.
– Route 60: One of the state’s most frequently used routes, it travels from Newport to Providence, connecting Aquidneck Island, the East Bay and downtown. The proposal calls for shorter periods of time between stops along the route, 15 minutes during peak time and 30 minutes off-peak. The proposal also calls for a connection with Route 33, should it extend to Maple Avenue, eliminating the need for riders to go to Providence to get to Newport.
– Route 60X: An express route mirroring Route 60, the line would make additional stops at certain places along the route.