RIPTA service coming to Slatersville

RIPTA service coming to Slatersville

NORTH SMITHFIELD - For the first time in town history, Slaterville residents will be able to catch a bus to Providence.

On Tuesday, Jan. 21, a new RIPTA Park and Ride Route, the North Smithfield/Lincoln Express, will make its first trip through town. The bus will make stops in Slatersville Plaza, Town Hall, and North Smithfield Medical Center in Branch Village, before heading to Park Square in Woonsocket, then on to Lincoln Mall, and eventually Kennedy Plaza.

The service will include three morning and one afternoon departures from North Smithfield, and an outbound bus from Providence will come to town once every morning, and three times every afternoon

"One reverse-commute run will help local employers better tap the Providence labor pool," said Town Council President John Flaherty, who worked with RIPTA officials to design the route.

The route was created thanks to RIPTA's Comprehensive Operational Analysis, which it evaluated the performance of routes across the state in attempt to redeploy buses where they would be most effective.

"We were looking to add more service to the northern part of the state," said RIPTA Director of Planning and Marketing Amy Pettine,

Previously, the 54 and the 54X - an express bus with limited stops along the same route - serviced Woonsocket, operating the only regular weekday trips through the area. The only route RIPTA has ever operated in North Smithfield is Flex Route 282, a far slower, reservation-taking trip with limited stops in North Smithfield and Burillville.

Starting in January, 54X route from Woonsocket will be renamed 59X, and will add on the three stops in North Smithfield.

"We're also creating two new Park and Ride opportunities," said Pettine.

The owners of Brigido's Plaza and North Smithfield Medical Center are partnering with the state travel office to provide space for travelers to leave their vehicles.

"They know it's good for business," said Flaherty.

"It's a win/win because in the case of Brigado's, as people get on and off the bus, they'll stop in for milk," said Pettine.

Parking at both the plaza and the office park will be free.

A pedestrian stop by Town Hall will also allow for access by foot to National Marker and MWV, formerly Polytop, LLC in Slatersville.

Pettine said she used input from executives at MWV and other companies in town to choose times for the stops.

"We worked with a couple local businesses to see what trip times would make it possible for people to travel from Providence to work in town," said Pettine.

"I see transit as an important amenity to support our economic development goals in the Slatersville and Branch Village areas," Flaherty said.

The weekday only service will take around 45 minutes to travel from Brigado's to Kennedy Plaza and primarily intended to service those traveling from North Smithfield to Providence.

"You can read," said Pettine. "It's just a little longer than the car ride and it's stress free."

Fares will be normally $2 each way, but RIPTA is extending its "Try Transit" promotion through June 2014. Passengers boarding at park & ride facilities pay just $2 and receive a free pass for the return trip home.

Pettine points out that even at full price, between avoiding costs for fuel and wear and tear on vehicles, the route will allow commuters to save money.

"We've started to be a competitive alternative to driving," she said.