The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) announced today that ridership is on the rise according to a report released this week by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). According to the report, RIPTA is ranked 7th out of 37 large bus agencies for ridership growth. In 2013, RIPTA recorded a total of 19.7 million boardings, an increase of 1.25% percent from the 19.5 million boardings recorded in 2012.
RIPTA attributes the resurgence of interest in mass transit to unstable gas prices, recent service changes and increased community outreach and marketing initiatives including the recent “Beat Traffic. Try Transit,” campaign.
“A year and a half ago there was doubt as to the financial well-being of RIPTA. We still have our challenges but a year later our budget is getting better, there is a renewed sense of optimism and confidence in our employees, and our ridership is increasing,” said the Chairman of RIPTA’s Board of Directors, Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian. This is all very encouraging for the long term viability of public transit in the State of Rhode Island.”
While ridership, following the national trend, is on the rise, funding levels are not keeping pace and RIPTA is making every effort to keep up with demand. RIPTA uses service guidelines to evaluate how to best meet customer demand. RIPTA’s guidelines were approved by the RIPTA Board last year as part of their Comprehensive Operational Analysis. RIPTA estimates it meets approximately eighty percent of the current demand for bus service in our state. Regardless, RIPTA is committed to maintaining a strong bus system and improving the passenger experience as ridership continues to increase. At present, ridership is up nearly 5% this fiscal year.
“I am not surprised in the least by the recent data showing a rise in ridership over the past year at RIPTA. Demand for public transportation has risen drastically not only in Rhode Island but on a national scale as well. Passengers have turned to public transit for an assortment of reasons,” said Paul Harrington, President of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 618.” RIPTA’s ranking proves we are a mid-size transit agency with large ridership. We should also consider the recent improvements to service the Authority implemented with its recently completed Comprehensive Operational Analysis. The study make recommendations to reallocate service from low performing routes to areas of high demand, improving frequency and convenience and it appears to have paid off. “
For information on RIPTA services, passengers may call 781-9400 or visit ripta.com.