This is a reminder that the R-Line — RIPTA’s highest-ridership route, connecting Providence and Pawtucket — is free from now through July 1st. Just hop on and hop off. RIPTA announced the pilot program last summer:
This free fare pilot program, funded with $2.5 million in the state budget for the fiscal year that began July 1, 2022, 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.
There is increasing evidence that the maintenance of cards, passes, IDs, and the fare collection equipment; the counting and handling of cash; and the administration and labor costs of the whole program, are not offset by the money the buses bring in. One can assume that each bus will spend less time idling at each stop; that should save on fuel.
There will be an analysis at the end of the experiment:
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 (Broad/North Main) runs from the Broad Street terminal in Providence to Main & Conant in Pawtucket (through Kennedy Plaza). Go here for routes and maps.