Activists at RIPTA Board Meeting
Most of Rhode Island is suffering from public service cuts in the wake of the Governor and the Democratic Leadership’s budget. For instance, RIPTA’s budget is 12 million in the red. This has the RIPTA board scrambling to make up the difference through service cuts and fare hikes. In this spurious and probably futile attempt to balance the budget only nominal attempts have been made to reach out to RIPTA riders. This had community activists up in arms at yesterday’s RIPTA board meeting:
A group from the northwest corner of the state came to yesterday’s meeting to defend the 9 Bus, which runs from Kennedy Plaza to Zambarano Hospital in Burrillville. . . .
The board [also] heard a demand from a student group, Students for a Democratic Society, that it drop consideration of service cuts to balance its budget and roll back a fare increase that took effect July 1, which is expected to produce $662,000 in additional revenue.
Brown University student Vale Cofer-Shabica said the group has interviewed more than 200 RIPTA riders in Kennedy Plaza and found most of them didn’t know about the possible service cuts. He accused RIPTA of considering the cuts “without involving the people who would be affected most.”
I also have it on good authority from my peeps in Providence SDS that the Sierra Club and the Gray Panthers were there with their own axes to grind.