PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Starting next month, the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) will temporarily reduce service due to an “unprecedented labor shortage.”
While RIPTA regularly makes service adjustments three times a year for seasonal and ridership reasons, the agency said these changes are directly related to its struggle to hire new drivers.
Starting Saturday, Oct. 22, RIPTA will temporarily reduce service frequencies on various routes. No routes will be eliminated, RIPTA said, and early morning, weekend, and holiday service will not be impacted.
Watch: Gov. McKee comments on the RIPTA staffing shortage
“In Rhode Island and across the country, there is a shortage of staff necessary to maintain daily transportation services. RIPTA is facing fierce competition from higher-paying private-sector companies for commercial drivers,” RIPTA CEO Scott Avedisian said. “As a result, this is causing a disruption for our customers in daily fixed-route bus service.”
The agency is currently negotiating with Amalgamated Transit Union Division 618 to increase starting hourly pay.
“Our goal is to always move transit forward. Reducing service is the last thing that we want to do as a transit agency,” Avedisian added. “Unfortunately, the unprecedented labor shortage we are experiencing due to unforeseen impacts of COVID, coupled with eligible retirements make moving forward a challenge.”
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The following routes will be affected by temporary service reductions and/or fall service changes:
- 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