RIPTA adds morning Thayer service

By
Thursday, September 18, 2008

After frequent RIPTA riders – including many Brown faculty and staff – complained of overcrowded buses and long waits to get from Kennedy Plaza to Thayer Street, the transit authority has extended morning service on its number 66 inbound line to continue up College Hill.

“It’s a good faith effort to accommodate the needs of our customers,” said Karen Mansel, director of marketing and communications for RIPTA.

The line 66 bus that is scheduled to reach Kennedy Plaza by 8:06 a.m. each morning will continue on to Thayer Street and arrive by 8:15 a.m. Other buses on the line will not be affected. The 8:15 a.m. bus, marked “special,” began continuing up the hill Sept. 15.

Mansel said RIPTA, which is in the midst of a budget crisis, will keep the line operating as long as it can afford to do so and as long as people make use of it. Though RIPTA is increasing special morning service up College Hill, it has recently announced plans to eliminate 20 percent of its service in lines across the state, affecting thousands of riders.

“We don’t want to have to do service cuts,” Mansel said.

Anjali Sridhar GS, assistant director of the Third World Center, said she travels up the hill about two to three times every week. “I know that Kennedy Plaza can be completely chaotic and I have sometimes had to wait for the next bus to get on,” she said. “So I think this extension is very useful.”

About 200 faculty and 800 staff take advantage of the UPASS program every month, allowing members of the Brown community to ride RIPTA free of charge, said Elizabeth Gentry, assistant vice president of financial and administrative services.

The University spends approximately $250,000 annually to support the UPASS program, Gentry said.