West Barrington will lose its RIPTA bus route under the proposal to rebuild bus service statewide by emphasizing service to the most riders, not the fewest. Riders will have to get to County Road or the Shaw’s supermarket in Riverside to ride the bus if the RIPTA board approves the proposal.
Less than 10 people came out Wednesday to the Barrington library to object to the loss of Route 32 at two of the first 12 public hearings on the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority proposal. Hearings were held at 10 am and 6 pm in the library auditorium.
“Lack of attendance is a good thing,” said Mark Therrien, assistant general manager for planning and marketing for the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority. “I think it means there is little opposition to the plan.”
Route 32 winds through West Barrington on Washington Road and Bay Spring Avenue before turning and heading back through Riverside to get to Providence.
“That route simply doesn’t serve a lot of people,” said Therrien, who led the sessions on RTPTA’s plan.
That plan grew out of a “Comprehensive Operational Analysis” to make the most of its funding and wipe out deficit spending.
Final decisions on the plan won’t come until after the feedback from all dozen hearings are compiled and given to the board, said Therrien. Then it could take 18 months to two years to implement all the changes, he said.
“We’re not reducing the size of the system,” Therrien said. “It will be the same number of miles.”
All the changes combine options that make the public transit system easier to use, more convenient, faster and more direct, and more productive, and with no variants from the primary route, he said.
RIPTA’s plans also call for improving hubs and opening a new one in Warwick, developing “superstops,” consolidating bus stops, operating with more regular times, spacing bus stops, and coordinating schedules.
RIPTA also wants to develop “frequent service networks” on its most used routes with more buses that travel more often and longer each day. And it wants to extend bus service to the South Attleboro rail stop.
The only way Route 32 or any other route getting significant changes might be saved, Therrien said, is if there is significant feedback from the public hearings that sways the board. If the attendance at the Barrington hearings is any indication, the West Barrington route is gone.
Click here to see the proposed RIPTA bus route plan.