Think Multi-Modal



Think Multi-Modal

Public Transit, Personal Automobile, Bicycles and Feet can all combine to make for a time-effective way to commute to and from work. While RIPTA schedules aren’t always what you need, combining a RIPTA Park and Ride facility, bus ride and bicycle ride can easily make getting into and out of the city less expensive and stressful.  The time spent riding the bus can be safely spent reading or catching up on needed rest. Coming from or going to points along the commuter rail line? Park at a train station for the day, bring a folding bicycle (MBTA does not allow full size bikes on peak hours trains) and ride the last few blocks to the office.  Once at the office the bike doesn’t need to be parked in a paid garage or lot, there are a lot of bike racks in downtown, and if lacking, no lack of sign posts, possibly directly outside the building door or inside.

Personally, I combine RIPTA with my bicycle frequently. Taking the bus from somewhere like Oakland Beach in Warwick to Kennedy Plaza and then riding from downtown to wherever necessary. The use of the bike allows me to increase my range and not be forced to wait for the next bus going exactly where I want to go, assuming there even is one. Occasionally I’ll take an MBTA train with a bicycle to get to Boston without the expense and frustration of parking and the frustration of 95N and 93N traffic jams.

Or, as Anj indicated in the comments for Considering Biking To Work or Play?, a 28 mile commute between Washington County and Providence.

While the video embedded below focuses on the commutes in the San Francisco Area, it certainly shows the wealth of possibilities available for long commutes in dense, urban areas with notorious traffic.


  • Anj
    May 5, 2011 at 4:28 am

    Why do I do it?

    I do get that question a lot. I mean, I drive a Prius, so ultimately the gas savings is negligible, as I have a park and ride bus within six miles of the house (which I use when I don't ride in.) So why do the full commute? Well, for one thing, it's a great way to start or end a work day. In the 1 hour 45-50 minutes it takes me to ride in, I not only get a great workout (and save on gym membership), but I get to note (with joy) the state of the day, the weather, the changing seasons, the wildlife and domestic life on what used to be the main route between New London and Providence. I go through six distinct communities – from Exeter to Coventry, West Warwick, Warwick, Cranston, South Providence into Providence, and I see things that one does not see from the car or the bus, I greet folks doing the reverse commute or the crossing guard who by now knows me and holler hello. I mull over what needs doing for the day. It's funny, folks who are used to I-95 always ask me, "but HOW do you get from there to here?" It cracks me up. "Well, how did people get to Providence before I-95?" I sit in a windowless office all day, and so on a day like today, it would be stupid not to ride in. Even on a bad day, I'm glad I commuted. It makes me feel good. Not smug, just physically good. I'm not all over people about driving their cars. But for me personally, I like saving money and I like feeling good. When I meet up with my commuting buddy at Station St. in Coventry (she rides from North Kingstown) we always spend the first ten minutes catching up. What other kind of commute can you get all that?

  • jack
    May 5, 2011 at 5:48 am

    Great story Anj. I like the part about how it makes you more aware of the world that we share. I'll bet a lot of your friends who arrive into providence via 95 everyday – especially the ones who ask you how it is possible not to – have a much smaller view of their immediate world. The different places that you describe passing through on your commute are varied, yet seemless. When the majority of our citizens don't interact with the world in this way and instead avoid the process of moving through our public space by being closed off from it in a car, people are less informed about real world issues and I think democracy suffers.

  • Ryan
    May 5, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    I use a folding bike to accomplish my multi-modal commute. I can even take my bike on the MBTA when other bikes arent allowed. Makes my life a lot easier.

  • Dennis
    May 6, 2011 at 10:50 am

    I used to answer the "Why?" question by ticking off all the normal reasons. Then one day I was stopped at a red light and a man in a car asked my "why?". I asked him, " Do you remember riding a bike when you were a kid?"

    And I pedaled off.

    My friends don't ask me why. They know that when we all decide to go someplace on the other side of town that I'm going to ride my bike. When someone new in the group shows concern for my mode of travel the rest of the group chuckles and says, "Don't worry. He'll get there before we do."

    Yup. I ride for all of those other reasons, too.

  • Anj
    May 6, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    (Wow. The guy in the video at 4:16 has like, six computers on his desk. LOL.)

  • MattyCiii
    May 9, 2011 at 3:10 am

    Folding bikes rock. I do the multi-modal from Providence to Boston frequently with one.

    People please if you have 5 minutes take the "Baby Stroller" survey at, and come out in support of strollers. Gas prices are up, trains are getting crowded, and riders are getting frustrated. They are looking at people to blame and marginalize for the crowding. Support the strollers, because if they are kicked to the curb how long will it be before bikes are banned?