The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) is reminding passengers that the “Ride Free Central Falls” pilot program, which has been in effect since March 2022, will conclude on December 31, 2023. This initiative, aimed at testing geofencing technology to promote public transportation use, has been a valuable experiment in enhancing accessibility and affordability.
Under the “Ride Free Central Falls” pilot, a virtual boundary, or geofence, was created around Central Falls, and later extended to include the Pawtucket-Central Falls Transit Center. The software communicates with RIPTA’s Wave smart fare technology and knows to automatically waive the fare when a passenger boards with a Wave smart card or mobile app in Central Falls or at the new Pawtucket-Central Falls Transit Center.
Beginning January 1, 2024, all passengers boarding in Central Falls and at the Pawtucket-Central Falls Transit Center will be required to pay the full fare.
“As we conclude this pilot, we’re grateful for the opportunity to explore geofencing technology and its potential to shape the future of public transportation,” said Scott Avedisian, Chief Executive Officer. “We appreciate the support and engagement of the Central Falls community and look forward to continuing our journey toward an even more efficient and user-friendly transit system.”
This innovative initiative, made possible by a grant from the Federal Transit Administration’s “Accelerating Innovative Mobility” initiative, has allowed RIPTA to explore new ways of improving transit services and transportation options.
RIPTA officials noted that Central Falls is an ideal test area because it covers a small geographic area but also has a high population density. RIPTA is monitoring the effectiveness of the pilot program through surveys, focus groups and analyzing travel trends. The results of this pilot will help RIPTA shape future policy and program initiatives.
More information is available at RIPTA.com/CentralFalls.