RIPTA has started a one-year pilot program on the R-Line, connecting Providence and Pawtucket. This is the most frequently used route, the one with the highest ridership.
This pilot program presents a unique opportunity to study the benefits and potential drawbacks of fare free transit service in Rhode Island. RIPTA will analyze a variety of factors, including: ridership impacts on the R-Line, other RIPTA routes, and paratransit service; service reliability; financial impacts to RIPTA and transit riders; and environmental impacts.
The R-Line runs down Broad Street from the Cranston city line, to Kennedy Plaza, over to the train station, then onto North Main Street into Pawtucket.
This free fare pilot program, funded with $2.5 million in the state budget . . . is the result of legislation sponsored by Senator Meghan E. Kallman and Representative Leonela Felix. The funding will be used to replace lost fare revenue, purchase Automatic Passenger Counters, perform a required FTA Title VI Analysis, and prepare an evaluation report to the General Assembly.
One school of thought is that the collecting and processing of cash and cards cost more than it takes in. It would be great to just hop on and hop off.
(Passengers traveling on all other routes are required to pay the full fare.)