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.