New Route Fosters Public Transit Use in Northern Rhode Island
April 8, 2023
FOSTER, R.I. — In a new park-n-ride lot across the street from the police station, a “Caution the bus is turning” bumper sticker graced the only car in the lot Monday afternoon.
Rhode Island Public Transit Authority service returned to the town this week for the first time since 2006, and the car and sticker belonged to a commuter taking RIPTA Route 10x back and forth from Foster to Providence on its inaugural run.
Just before 6 p.m., a large bus pulled off narrow Howard Hill Road and stopped in front of the Foster Center Baptist Church.
As two passengers hopped off, one pointed toward South Killingly Road. He was giving the driver directions on how to get back.
“I’m tickled,” Jim Tall, the commuter who showed the driver where to go, said after getting off the bus. He has lived in the Foster/Glocester area for eight years and works in Providence.
“The one reason I could manage living out here was these buses,” he said. Tall lives in a one-car household, so when deciding where to live, he’s always had to pick a place within 5 miles of a bus stop, so he could walk or bike to it when he needed.
Now he lives an eight-minute walk from the new stop in front of the church, which is a big improvement from the North Scituate stop.
Tall said he mostly avoids driving for environmental reasons, but also loves that the bus is cheaper than paying for gas.
“You get to talk to people, you get to read … you get to look out the window,” he said. “Who wants to trudge along the routes?” He shook his head talking about the traffic caused by the Route 6/10 construction.
Tall said he was impressed with the amount of support for the new bus stop. When the line extension was announced at a March 15 RIPTA board meeting, the agency’s CEO, Scott Avedisian, said the public hearing on the route was the first he’d been to that had “100%” audience support.
Getting buses to Foster was a goal for Avedisian since he started at RIPTA. Buses had previously stopped at the Danielson Pike park-n-ride lot, but the agency was unable to find a new place for a stop after the lot was sold, leaving the town without service for almost 20 years.
The new stop cost RIPTA $24,000 and brings the authority one step closer to having service in all 39 of Rhode Island’s cities and towns. Little Compton and New Shoreham are currently without service, which Avedisian said will be added by the end of the year.
Tall said he hopes more people will start taking the bus now that the new stop is here. He knows at least one person commuting from nearby Connecticut who he hopes will start using the new stop.
The trip between Foster and Providence was easy, Tall said, and the bus drivers were great. He laughed when the morning driver asked him, “Where the hell am I?” and whether they were in “downtown Foster.”
“It’s a scenic drive out here,” Tall said. “Join us! Get on the bus!”