**UPDATED PUBLIC HEARING LOCATION**

 

RIPTA to Hold Statewide Public Hearings on Proposed Service Changes

Ridership & Workforce Shortage Drive Service Changes Proposal

 

Hearings Scheduled February 12 – 15, February 19 and February 21

 

Providence, Rhode Island – The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) will hold public hearings on proposed service changes in all five Rhode Island counties on February 12 – 15, February 19 and February 21, 2024. The Authority announced that the reductions in service statewide are a direct response to its driver shortage, which is a longstanding issue that RIPTA has been trying to address over the past few years. This shortage is not related to the proposed FY2025 budget. Despite extensive recruitment efforts, drivers continue to retire more quickly than RIPTA can recruit new ones.  RIPTA is actively working with Amalgamated Transit Union leadership to find a solution to this issue. The labor shortage, which is affecting transit agencies nationwide, has a direct impact on the level of service that RIPTA can provide. RIPTA must recalibrate its schedules with the level of service it can consistently run, so that service is accurate and reliable for passengers.

 

The proposed service changes are based on data which identified the lowest performing routes and trip times; changes include redistributing resources from low-performing routes to high-performing routes. The proposed service changes would affect thirty-three (33) regular bus routes and include the elimination of routes or route segments, the decrease of service frequency, as well as the increase of service frequency on some high performing routes.

 

Additionally, because ADA service is offered within a ¾ mile corridor of fixed-route service, the paratransit ADA service that RIPTA provides through the RIde Program would also be reduced wherever there is the elimination of a route or a segment of a route.

 

“Our goal is to ensure we can meet 100% of our scheduled service 100% of the time. In order to do that, as painful as it is, we must make prudent changes, particularly given our workforce challenges,” said Scott Avedisian, RIPTA CEO. “In the meantime, we are actively working with our union to create a new starting wage for drivers that should address our recruiting challenges and help RIPTA better execute its mission.”

 

Avedisian added that “aligning our current staffing levels with the service we can provide will eliminate missed trips and improve the passenger experience.” RIPTA plans to reinstate service based on ridership – and in line with statewide Transit Master Plan goals - once the Agency can significantly increase its workforce to offset retirements.

 

Public hearings will address service changes to Routes 4, 6, 9x, 13, 14, 16, 18, 21, 29, 30, 51, 54, 58, 64, 65x, 69, 71, 72, 75, 87, 92 and 95x and the elimination of Routes QX, 10x, 12x, 23, 59x, 61x, 68, 73, 76, 80 and 88. Additionally, emergency temporary service changes made in Fall 2022 to Routes 22, 27, 28, 31, 50, 55, 56, 57, 60, 63, and 67 will also be addressed.

 

The proposed service changes are as follows:

 

 

Increase in Trip Frequency or Number of Trips

Route 51 (Charles St./Twin River/CCRI)

Route 54 (Lincoln/Woonsocket)

Route 72 (Weeden/Central Falls)

Route 92 (East Side/Federal Hill/RI College)

 

Trip Time Changes for Better Service Reliability

Route 14 (West Bay)

Route 16 (Bald Hill /New England Tech)

Route 21 (Reservoir/Malls/ CCRI)

Route 58 (Mineral Spring/North Providence)

Route 72 (Weeden/Central Falls)

Route 92 (East Side/Federal Hill/RI College)

 

 

Regular Route Eliminations

 

Route QX (Quonset Express)

Route 10x (North Scituate Park-n-Ride)

Route 12x (Arctic/117 Express Park-n-Ride)

Route 23 (Arctic/Crompton/Centre of NE)

Route 59x (North Smithfield/Lincoln Mall)

Route 61x (Tiverton/East Bay Park-n-Ride)

Route 68 (CCRI Newport/Memorial Blvd./First Beach)

Route 73 (Mineral Spring/Twin River/CCRI)

Route 76 (Central Ave.)

Route 80 (Armistice Blvd.)

Route 88 (Simmons Village Service)

 

 

Route Segment Eliminations                                      Eliminated Segment

Route 14 (West Bay)                                       North Kingstown to Narragansett (Saturday only)

Route 16 (Bald Hill /New England Tech)             New England Tech to Quonset

Route 58 (Mineral Spring/North Providence)       Mineral Spring to Rte. 146 (one trip affected)

 

 

Elimination of Saturday Service  

Route 18 (Union Ave.)

Route 58 (Mineral Spring/North Providence)

Route 64 (Newport/URI/Kingston Station)

               

Elimination of Sunday Service  

Route 4 (Warwick Ave./West Shore)

Route 16 (Bald Hill /New England Tech)

Route 71 (Broad St./Central Falls)

Route 69 (URI/Galilee)

 

Elimination of All Weekend Service        

Route 6 (Prairie Ave./CCRI/RW Zoo)

Route 13 (Coventry/Arctic/CCRI)

Route 29 (CCRI Warwick/Conimicut)

Route 30 (Arlington/Oaklawn)

Route 75 (Dexter/Lincoln Mall)

 

Reduction in Trip Frequency or Number of Trips

Route 6 (Prairie Ave./CCRI/RW Zoo)

Route 9x (Pascoag Express)

Route 16 (Bald Hill /New England Tech)

Route 18 (Union Ave.)

Route 21 (Reservoir/Malls/CCRI)

Route 65x (Wakefield Express)

Route 87 (Fairmount/Walnut Hill)

Route 95x (Westerly Express)

 

Route Realignment

Route 6 (Prairie Ave./CCRI/RW Zoo)

 

Under state law, the Authority must post the hearing schedule prior to holding any public hearings.  All input from the public at the hearings will go to RIPTA’s Board of Directors in February and the Board will vote on the proposed service changes at its February 22, 2024, Board meeting.  If approved, service changes would go into effect on Saturday, April 6, 2024. For more information on these changes, passengers can visit RIPTA.com/PublicHearings.

 

Updated Schedule for Public Hearings

The public hearing schedule is as follows: 

 

 

Monday, February 12, 2024

Barrington Public Library

281 County Road, Barrington

Times: 12:30pm – 2pm & 5:30pm – 7pm

 

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Pawtucket Public Library

13 Summer Street, Pawtucket

Times: 12:30pm – 2pm & 5:30pm – 7pm

 

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Providence Foundation

30 Exchange Terrace, Providence

Times: 12:30pm – 2pm & 5:30pm – 7pm

 

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Newport CCRI Auditorium

One John H. Chafee Blvd., Newport

Times: 12:30pm – 2pm & 5:30pm – 7pm

 

Monday, February 19, 2024

URI Memorial Union, Room 360

50 Lower College Road, Kingston

Times: 12:30pm – 2pm & 5:30pm – 7pm

 

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

West Warwick Public Library

1043 Main Street, West Warwick

Times: 12:30pm – 2pm & 5:30pm – 7pm

 

These hearings will be accessible to people with disabilities and people with limited English proficiency.  RIPTA will provide translation and interpreter services for the deaf and hearing impaired, provided such a request is made at least 72 hours prior to the hearing date. A request for this service can be made by calling (401) 784-9500 ex. 1242 or 800-745-5555 (RI Relay TDD).

 

For information on RIPTA services, passengers may call (401) 781-9400 or visit RIPTA.com.

A person is being questioned in connection to the death of a University of Georgia student. A UGA spokesperson said the person is currently with police. Nursing student Laken Hope Riley left for a morning run Thursday and concerned friends called police when she never returned. Officers found the 22-year-old's body in a forested area behind the school with "visible injuries."        More U.S. sanctions are being placed on Russia in response to the death of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. President Biden announced more than 500 sanctions targeting individuals connected to Navalny's imprisonment and death. The sanctions come one day before the two-year anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.       Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is vowing to stay in the presidential race regardless of the outcome of tomorrow's GOP primary in her home state. Haley trails former President Trump by as much as 35 points in polls of South Carolina GOP voters. Polls are open tomorrow from 7 a.m to 7 p.m. Eastern time.       Two National Guardsmen are dead after a military helicopter crash in Mississippi today. The helicopter was on a routine training flight and crashed in Booneville Friday afternoon. That's near the Alabama border. Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves confirmed the tragedy.        The trial for the weapons handler in the "Rust" movie shooting will continue today in New Mexico. Hannah Gutierrez, who is accused of bringing live ammunition to the movie set, has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter and evidence tampering. Prosecutors claim Gutierrez is largely responsible for the accidental shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the film in October of 2021.       A software company could become the third U.S. business to reach a value of two-trillion-dollars. If Nvidia [[ en-VID-ee-uh ]] reaches that mark by the end of today's market close, it would shatter the record for the fewest number of trading days to earn its second trillion. That means Nvidia will have accomplished the feat in 175 trading days, compared to 516 trading days for Apple and 543 trading days for Microsoft.       A former "Desperate Housewife" is joining the cast of "Only Murders in the Building." Variety reports Eva Longoria will have a recurring role in season four of the series, although there's no word about her character and storyline. Longoria is the second new cast member announced, joining Saturday Night Live alum Molly Shannon.