RIPTA riders to protest proposed cuts in bus service

Providence, RI – The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority will hold another hearing today on a proposed seven percent service cut. But one group of riders isn't waiting for the hearing to begin to express their concerns.

Members of the grassroots group "RIPTA Riders" will rally on the steps of Providence City Hall this afternoon a half hour before a hearing begins on service cuts aimed at closing a $4.6 million deficit. Protest organizer Randall Rose says a proposal to eliminate service after 10 o'clock at night would hurt a lot of workers.

"That's going to be terrible for people who take the bus to work and work second shift," Rose said. "If you work second shift you're going to need a bus home after 10 pm and there's going to be no way to get home. So that's just ridiculous right there."

Currently many routes operate until almost midnight.

Rose says the group's anger is directed not at RIPTA, but rather the General Assembly for inadequate funding the agency.

RIPTA is running a nearly $5 million deficit for the budget year that started July 1st. The major reasons for the shortfall are rising diesel fuel prices and declining gas tax revenues.

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