Bicyclists Should Help RIPTA!



Bicyclists Should Help RIPTA!

You probably read about big cuts proposed for the RIPTA bus system. If implemented, they would likely set off a downward spiral of less passengers, hence even less service in the future. Such a spiral would also hurt bicycle advocacy in several ways. It makes it harder to live car-free, indeed signals to all, get a car, drive, and add to road congestion. With the bike racks on the buses, bicyclists will have reduced opportunities to mix biking and bus use.

What to do? Though I have some thoughts about the need to reduce costs and seek more revenue, for both the short-run and long-run taxpayers will have to step up too as we can’t sustain a system on a gas tax revenue stream that not only does not keep up with inflation, it actually loses dollars as folks drive less with the recession and/or use more efficient vehicles. (RIDOT has the same problem.) For this fiscal year, the Governor and legislative leaders can help avert most service cuts if they agree to help RIPTA, either as part of a usual supplemental budget in the winter, or even in the anticipated special session this fall. Thus I recommend contacting your state legislators and/or the Governor’s office (222-2080) on ripta’s behalf, preferably before the next RIPTA Board meeting August 22 when cuts are on the agenda.

Also note a group formed called “RIPTA RIDERS” that did a good job helping generate a good turnout at the recent public hearings. You can contact them at


  • MattyCiii
    Aug 9, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    You make good points, but I live car free just fine without RIPTA. I'll probably live a lot longer without their drivers trying to run me over.

    Sorry, but to get my support they have to stop trying to run me over.

  • Aug 10, 2011 at 9:47 am

    As Barry noted, I think there is a natural synergy between RIPTA and bicycles. I've convinced plenty of people to try out bicycle commuting, by having them toss their bike on the bus for the ride in and then riding their bike on the way home. My personal belief is that now is NOT the time to cut public transportation service. While it's entirely possible to get around this entire state by bicycle, some people simply don't have the time or the stamina (yet) to do so. However, I'd much rather these people trend towards a bike/bus combination than continuing to rely on the personal automobile. RI, much like the rest of the country, can not build ourselves out of traffic; we need a fundamental shift in transportation thinking.

    @MattCiii I've personally had good experiences with the RIPTA drives. They put up with a lot of crap and take it in stride. I'm curious whether your close encounters with RIPTA buses are more numerous than personal automobiles? I'd certainly hope not. Have you tried to contact RIPTA after such encounters? In general, I've found that companies with professional drivers have been very attentive to complaints when I've had them.

  • barry
    Aug 11, 2011 at 7:39 am

    I want to not that those wishing to contact the "RIPTA Riders" group should send e-mail to

    They have a petition that can be signed on-line. The petition can also be found via which is the local Sierra Club web-site, under "save ripta" within "Transportation Choices"

    Another way to help, both RIPTA and the state economy by leaving more of your money in the state, is to try to actually use RIPTA instead of driving. While of course that is not prcticable for many trips, on many lines there is better service than most non-users think there is, for example, to the airport.