RIPTA to temporarily reduce service because of driver shortage

This is an image of RIPTA buses at Kennedy Plaza in Providence. (WLNE )

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority announced Thursday that it will temporarily reduce service statewide because of a driver shortage.

In a release, RIPTA spokesperson Cristy Raposo Perry said the service changes will take effect Saturday, Oct. 22.

“This round of changes is directly related to the agency’s struggle to competitively recruit new drivers in the current marketplace,” said Perry. “RIPTA will not be eliminating any routes, and the agency plans to reinstate service levels as they are currently scheduled as soon as manpower permits.”

Details on the proposed changes can be found on the RIPTA website. Early morning, night, weekend and holiday services will not be impacted.

One North Providence resident who takes the busses daily, said to ABC6, “It’s a good system, it really is, I think it’s one of the better ones, when I was in the military I traveled on busses before and trains, and I think it’s a very good system but if you don’t have a driver, you don’t have a driver. I hear it from some of the drivers as well, they’ll tell me ahead of the time ‘there’s gonna be 45 drivers short this week’ or, you know”.

Routes that will be impacted are:

  • 13 Coventry/Arctic/CCRI
  • 17 Dyer/Pocasset
  • 19 Plainfield/Westminster
  • 21 Reservoir/Garden City/CCRI
  • 22 Pontiac Ave.
  • 27 Broadway/Manton
  • 28 Broadway/Hartford
  • 29 CCRI Warwick/Conimicut
  • 31 Cranston St.
  • 50 Douglas Ave./Bryant University
  • 51 Charles St./Twin River/CCRI
  • 54 Lincoln/Woonsocket
  • 55 Admiral/Providence College
  • 56 Chalkstone Ave.
  • 57 Smith Street
  • 60 Providence/Newport
  • 63 Broadway/Middletown Shops
  • 65X Wakefield Park-n-Ride
  • 67 Bellevue/Mansions/Salve
  • 72 Weeden/Central Falls
  • 87 Fairmount/Walnut Hill
  • 92 East Side/Federal Hill/RI College

“Reducing service is the last thing that we want to do as a transit agency,” said Avedisian. “Unfortunately, the unprecedented labor shortage we are experiencing due to unforeseen impacts of COVID, coupled with eligible retirements make moving forward a challenge.”

The transit authority is currently in negotiations with Amalgamated Transit Union Division 618 to increase starting hourly pay for drivers.

Categories: News, Rhode Island