RIPTA adds extra vehicles to encourage social distancing


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) has added extra vans to their routes to reduce capacity and ensure that passengers are able to effectively social distance.

RIPTA announced Friday that extra vehicles will be added to their busiest routes, such as the R-Line from Providence to Pawtucket. They will be used as needed and be limited to four people.

The vans are “RIde” vehicles from their paratransit division and are normally used to transport people with disabilities. They have been made available because of the decrease in ridership for both paratransit and fixed-route divisions, according to RIPTA.

“We know that there is plenty of room for proper distancing on almost all of our buses due to diminished ridership, but we also know that we have extra vehicles available right now,” RIPTA’s Chief Executive Officer Scott Avedisian said. “This is a prudent use of these vehicles as we continue to provide essential service throughout our state.”

Avedisian said that they’re still providing about 100,000 trips per week, even with the decline in riders because of the pandemic. They use Automatic Passenger Counters to track the number of riders on their vehicles, he said.

“We are aware that we are a lifeline service and that we are getting people to jobs at our hospitals and nursing homes,” Avedisian said. “We also know that our service is the only way that some people can get their groceries and medications. We are grateful for our dedicated workforce at this critical time.”

Avedisian said every single bus is still being thoroughly disinfected regularly.

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