Rhode Islanders don’t want the public transportation statists want them to want.

For an academic project not long ago I reviewed data on RIPTA bus routes, including surveys of riders of every line in the system, so the unstated assumption of Antonia Noori Farzan’s recent Providence Journal article on the subject jumped out at me.  The headline is, “What’s it like to rely on RIPTA to get around the state? We tried it for a week.”  And the not-quite-articulated assumption is that traveling around using public transit should be attractive even when compared with the ease of cars in a suburban area.

There simply is not the demand to maintain a system that can get any given person to any given location in the state painlessly.  The area didn’t develop for that, and the people don’t really want it.

Frankly, I doubt progressives even want to provide it for them.  It would take larger buses that require fewer drivers in urban areas and smaller buses (or vans) with more amenities for suburban commuters and others, perhaps with less-expensive labor.  Journalists would start writing articles about the contrast in comfort level between the two, while at the same time expressing outrage that urbanites have to pay so much to travel to the suburbs.

Cars are efficient modes of travel, and they are symbols of freedom.  Government should focus on improving our infrastructure and reversing the regulations designed to make them too expensive for working class Rhode Islanders.

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Ann Marie Delfino
Ann Marie Delfino
1 month ago

If the government was serious about RIPTA they would actually put someone at the head of RIPTA that would look to improve routing for those that need to utilize RIPTA. Most would not use RIPTA and will always prefer their own car to travel due to heavy schedules that include work, appts. and picking up and dropping off children at the places they need to be. Those demands are not anything that RIPTA would be able to accommodate affordably.

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