RIPTA

RIPR file photo

Downtown Providence will be busy this weekend with a major music festival, RISD commencement and the Southern New England Heart Walk. Most of the streets in central downtown will be closed to cars and bus routes will change to accommodate all the activity.

Street closures begin with a few smaller roads on Friday, and by Saturday, most of central downtown will turn pedestrian. That includes several major arteries in and around Kennedy Plaza, the state's largest public transit hub.

The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority plans to re-locate all bus stops.

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Rhode Island Transit officials announced the creation of a new bus corridor through downtown Providence. The 1.4 mile transit project replaces the now-scrapped city streetcar project. 

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The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority voted Monday to end a program offering free bus service to low-income, elderly and disabled passengers. Starting in July, those passengers will pay up to 50 cents, or a quarter of the current standard bus fare of $2.

The decision was a compromise of sorts. Riders' advocacy groups said any increase would be too steep for the thousands of struggling Rhode Islanders who rely on  free bus service. But RIPTA officials pushed back, saying the number of people riding for free was unsustainable on the current operating budget.

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  The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority board is set to vote Monday on a controversial new proposal that would eliminate no-fare passes for some rides. The issue has faced vocal opposition.

Currently, seniors and some people with disabilities qualify for free bus services through RIPTA. Under the proposed change, those currently eligible for the free passes would have to pay half fare, or one dollar.

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The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority has secured millions in federal financing to upgrade the Gateway Center on America's Cup Avenue. The funds will be used for exterior repairs and improvements to the transit and visitor's center, which was damaged during Superstorm Sandy.

According to the state's Congressional delegation, the funding represents an expansion of an earlier $1.6 million grant. That grant led to a design process that revealed more work would be needed to "improve passenger protection and reduce flooding" at the site.

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The RIde program offers door to door pickup and drop-off services to about 15-hundred people per day.  

The new cell phone application will allow passengers to track their bus, as it comes to pick them up.  GPS data provides more specific estimated times of arrival. Passengers can also cancel trips via the app.  In total some 12-thousand people rely on the transit authority’s RIde program.

RIPTA recently embarked on a campaign to improve it services… conducting surveys, hosting community meetings, to determine possible changes to bus routes and fares.

John Bender / RIPR

Providence police have concluded their investigation into a public bus accident that resulted in the death of a nine-year old girl.  Investigators do not believe the accident was the result of operator error by the bus driver.

                                  

John Bender

Police have identified the nine-year-old girl fatally struck on Thursday by a public bus in Providence.

According to police, she was third-grader Ani Emdjian. She was walking to school with her father when she was hit, a little before 9 o'clock in the morning. She died at a hospital some time later.

The accident on Smith Street, just blocks from the statehouse, involved a Rhode Island Public Transit Authority bus. Police have now identified the driver as 42-year-old Eric Seaberg of Smithfield. 

John Bender / RIPR

Police are investigating a fatal accident involving a Rhode Island Public Transit Authority bus. The bus struck and killed a nine-year-old girl in Providence on Thursday morning.

RIPTA says the accident happened on Smith Street at approximately 8:40 a.m., just blocks from the Rhode Island Statehouse. 

A bus traveling away from downtown Providence hit the girl, who was on foot. Police say she died of her injuries. 

Sick of the myth of greedy union members? Here’s some fodder. Turns out that the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority  is  thanking members of the international bricklayers union for clearing snow from Providence streets along 40 high-use RIPTA bus stops.

According to a new release, leaders of Local 3 of the International Bricklayers and allied Craftsworkers Union worked with the Rhode Island AFL-CIO to put together the effort to help RIPTA and the public deal with bus stops and shelters that have been covered with ice and snow during this harsh winter.

John Bender / RIPR

The snow is no longer falling, but transportation remains snarled across much of Southern New England.  Public transit has all but shut down in Boston, leaving commuters and others stranded in Providence.

The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority halted all commuter train and Subway service at 7 p.m. Tuesday. That left riders in Rhode Island with few good options except Amtrak trains, and even those are running on a limited schedule.

John Bender / RIPR

The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority, has revealed its policy for security cameras at Kennedy Plaza.  Civil liberties advocates have raised questions about new cameras installed during a renovation of the downtown Providence transit hub.

The authority says's is part of an effort to increase security.  RIPTA says the cameras can only be accessed by the chief of security, and will be deleted after about a month.  

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Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian is being inaugurated Tuesday. The mayor will be taking a RIPTA bus to his inaugural event to highlight the city’s push to become a transportation hub.

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The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority expects Kennedy Plaza in Providence to be ready for regular bus service in mid-January.  

The bus hub has been closed since the summer to accommodate safety and design improvements.  RIPTA says the project is taking longer than expected because of some needed changes.  The Kennedy Plaza improvements will include passenger-friendly shelters, lighted signage, trees, and automated ticketing machines.  

The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority is hosting a public meeting today to discuss the ongoing construction and proposed changes to the public bussing hub Kennedy Plaza in downtown Providence.  There are some outspoken critics of the project.

The most vocal group, the RIPTA Riders Alliance says the project, which closes down some bus lanes, and relocates several bus stops is bad for passengers.   They say the changes will make it harder for riders, especially those who are older or handicapped, to make their buses safely and on time. 

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