Category: RIPTA

RIPTA: It stands for Never On Time

So I went into work super early this morning, 06:30 hours. Which meant I was out at 2:3oPM. Managed to catch the 3:25PM commuter to Providence which got into Providence at about 4:25PM.

Then a brief walk through Waterplace park and I was at the berth for the 27/28 bus lines. Now RIPTA calls this a high frequency bus line. Only problem is, they cannot keep a schedule to save their lives. I missed the 4:30PM but the display told me next buses were at 4:40, 4:50, 5:00PM but the issue was no bus ever showed up at those times.

The displays at all the bus stops in Kennedy Plaza they blatantly lie about time to the next bus. I know they’re slinging the info over RF – I gotta sniff it with my spectrum analyzer and see what they’re using. I’ve heard they can use broadcast band sub-carrier – so I’d like to put a message on them that says “Next 27/28 bus (Never) You’re Better off Walking”

But seriously – I may gripe about the MBTA on occasion, but nowhere near the level I gripe about the Rhode Island Public Transit authority. I actually called it one the worst transit systems in the United States. Called them and said that to them. I also plan to share this post with them. I’ll properly tag it so they can scroll through all the times RIPTA has disappointed me.

Now the buses themselves are festooned with technology that tracks the position of the bus for automated announcements of certain intersections on the route. And I have to wonder if they’re not slinging that info back to HQ and then using that for the time displays but I doubt that. Because if that were the case the displays at the bus berths wouldn’t tell such blatant lies.

But I’m at the point where this is all expected behavior on the part of RIPTA. A perpetually underfunded agency because they stupidly tied their revenue to the gasoline tax, and I can tell you where that’s going to go as cars become more efficient and more electric. But that’s ┬ádiscussion for later on taxing you on the miles driven that I really don’t want to delve into at the moment.

But RIPTA needs to get on the ball. I can easily walk home if I choose. But sometimes it’s nice to just get the bus home as I live on what I am assured is ┬áthe 2nd busiest route on RIPTA’s roster.

 

Hey RIPTA – if you’re gonna rip a stop out

You might want to remove it off Google Maps which does your Tripe Planners.

ripta-trip-planner-knight-fs-broadway-2015-12-16

Had a driver tell me the stop no longer existed. Well – according to gmaps it does.

I’m sorry but if RIPTA wants to be taken seriously they have to pay attention to shit like this. And I’ve punked out my share of drivers. When I get put out the mouth starts and it’s never pretty.

It’s usually a variant of “Yo, think you missed a stop back there you jackass!” to “What the fuck – Stop this bus now or I’ll stop it for you.” Yes, I’m very rough on bus drivers. Can’t help it because when I get inconsistent information from RIPTA’s own web site and bus drivers I get really, really angry.

But my scorn and derisiveness is purely aimed at RIPTA and it’s management. As I’ve said in the past I think we should just invite the MBTA to take over operations of RIPTA and be done with it. That way I could use the $330 a month pass I buy from the MBTA on buses here in RI. It only makes sense as RIPTA is forever crying poverty. Plus it would make for one super-regional transit system. And the way MBTA funds is the communities it runs through pay for the privilege. RIPTA runs off a percentage of the gas tax and you can see where that’ll get you when cars are getting more fuel efficient.

Perhaps the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority should honor MBTA passes

So I learned today that RIPTA now goes into Massachusetts. Only as far as South Attleboro Station which is right across the line from Pawtucket, RI.

So that made me think. Since I’m shelling $330 a month for an MBTA commuter pass that gets me unlimited rides on the commuter rail, subways and MBTA buses then why doesn’t RIPTA honor that pass too?

I mean the MBTA has partnered with all sorts of systems in MA, why not RI? I want to see super-regional transit systems in place.

More Reasons why I hate RIPTA

It seems that every Friday evening, RIPTA doesn’t run for crap.

Tonight was a perfect example. I arrive in Kennedy Plaza with time to spare. I usually walk over to Exchange Terrace because you can catch the #26, #27, #28, and #92 buses and trolley from there.

But this evening Exchange Terrace to Sabin St. was a little bit heavy with traffic. So the #28 driver decided he’d take Memorial Blvd. Only problem was he got seriously stuck there. I could see him as I started walking.

Like the other night, traffic on the normal route from the office was backed up. The driver decided to detour. This seems to be a common occurrence with RITPA drivers lately. I think they’re trying to hold to the schedules but RIPTA needs to be cognizant of the fact that buses have to compete with street traffic. And over the past few years street traffic has been getting worse and worse in Providence.

This is why I really want to see streetcar service with dedicated lanes. No more fighting with traffic. And despite RIPTA’s contention that light rail doesn’t work for distances less than 10 miles, give me a break. Plot a ten mile radius around the city of Providence and you’d hit Woonsocket, North Smithfield, and Cumberland to the north, going east you’d get into Warren and Barrington even Bristol, and south would take you deep into Warwick, East Greenwich and perhaps North Kingstown.

I understand funding is hard to come by, but RIPTA needs to be creative here. I’ve already made suggestions like the 80/20 rule for federal highway monies, where 80% goes to the highway project, 20% to public transit systems. I don’t see them running with that and I wonder why?

Put it this way, there are several BILLION dollars worth of highway improvement that is becoming necessary in RI. Let’s say conservatively about $2 Billion. 20% of that would be $400,000,000 for RIPTA.

Even with their new CEO etc. I don’t think RIPTA has the vision necessary to plan a 21st century transit system in Rhode Island. They’re still stuck on buses. Buses are 20th century technology. Yes I know, rail is a 19th century technology but at least it’s grown from locomotives that could do maybe 35MPH tops to trains that book along at 200+MPH. Buses on the other hand, have gotten cosmetically better looking and the new hybrids sip gas a little less precipitously. But they still stink of diesel fuel, and still get stuck in traffic.

So get with it RIPTA.

BTW, I’m told that people inside RIPTA cannot view wordpress blogs. So I emailed this to the RIPTA CEO Charles Odimgbe.

What Once Was, and what is now

I finished reading Edwin Black’s “Internal Combustion”. Very interesting book in that even back in the early part of the 20th century they had urban electric vehicles with ranges of 100 or so miles.

But he spends an awful lot of time slamming GM, Standard Oil, Firestone, etc. Standard Oil is no more, it’s nearest equivalent is Exxon-Mobil.

In any case, up until about 1948-1950 Rhode Island had electric trackless trolleys. They went everywhere and were clean, efficient, and well liked. They got their power from an overhead catenary. No third rail for Rhode Island.
Electric Trackless Trolleys

But in that period of 1948-1950 a consortium called National City Lines convinced Rhode Islanders that stinking diesel buses were better. So we ended up with these:
Orion V bus

Oh sure they run low sulfur diesel fuel now but they still spew particulates and other nasties into the air particularly certain forms of carbon monoxide and dioxide.

Then of course they’ve got the Chance Coach trolleys that run on CNG but while CNG is billed as a clean fuel it still generates carbon monoxide among other things.

They keep toying with light rail in Rhode Island and it’d more likely than not be electric light rail but it never gets anywhere. Same as they keep talking about commuter rail stations in Warwick, RI, Wickford, RI, and Westerly, RI but that doesn’t seem to be moving very fast. I think the Warwick station (Which is 1,500 feet from T.F. Green Airport) is progressing but get this, the only one that has agreed to stop there is the MBTA. Amtrak won’t stop there.

The big issue in Rhode Island is that we don’t have anymore room to build highways and roadways. So we have to start looking at alternatives and mass transit is one those alternatives, in fact the only alternative.

We need to do something and quickly. But I’m thinking of leaving here anyhow, the job and housing picture sucks.

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