Citing plummeting temperatures, high winds and drifting snow, the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) will start reducing service at 4 p.m. on Sunday, February 15, 2015, with the intent of having all buses off the roads by about 5 p.m.
RIPTA officials said that buses will finish all service by 5 p.m., with no new trips beginning after approximately 4 p.m. The safety of passengers having to step into streets due to snow-blocked bus stops has been a concern throughout this severe winter and RIPTA officials said they do not want to compound the problem on a night the state is digging out after another major storm.
“RIPTA’s main concern is safety and weather officials are warning that frostbite can occur very quickly in these conditions,” said Barbara Polichetti, Director of Public Affairs for RIPTA. “We want to avoid having people waiting outside in the cold and the dark, particularly with wind-driven snow reducing visibility. We also want to keep roads clear as the state and its municipalities complete their snow removal efforts.”
RIPTA officials noted that another factor in the decision to stop service early is the fact that ridership has been very light on all routes throughout the day. “The fact is that we are not moving many people right now, and we need to do what is best to be safe,” said Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian, Chairman of RIPTA’s Board of Directors.
RIPTA is planning on resuming regular service on Monday, February 16, 2015. Although it is Presidents’ Day, RIPTA will be running regular weekday service.
Passengers are encouraged to check www.RIPTA.com for updates on Monday. Riders may expect some delays on all routes due to weather conditions and are advised to use extreme caution at bus stops due to decreased visibility and slippery conditions. They are also asked to dress properly for the extreme cold.
The safety of our employees and passengers is RIPTA’s top priority. RIPTA apologizes for the inconvenience and asks for the public’s understanding as we work to maintain safe service during winter weather conditions.
Passengers are also advised to monitor news reports and check RIPTA’s social media outlets (Facebook @RideRIPTA, Twitter @RIPTA_RI) for service advisory updates. RIPTA urges passengers to sign up for electronic News Updates at http://www.ripta.com/detours-news; RIPTA will e-mail system disruption notices to passengers on this distribution list.