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