Transit Advocates Look Forward to New Leadership After RIPTA CEO Resigns


PROVIDENCE — The resignation of Rhode Island Public Transit Authority CEO Scott Avedisian on Thursday was cause for celebration for two transit-centric organizations.

Avedisian resigned after he was charged with and pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of leaving the scene of an accident in Warwick on March 27. Warwick police said he bumped his RIPTA-issued SUV into a car at a McDonald’s drive-thru, which was pushed into the car ahead of it, and then left the scene. The driver of the car Avedisian hit called police.

The announcement was made by RIPTA board chairman Peter Alviti Jr. Thursday after board members emerged from an hour-long special meeting behind closed doors.

“It has been a distinct honor and pleasure for me to work with the dedicated RIPTA staff,” he wrote in his resignation letter.

Patricia Raub and Amy Glidden, co-chairs of Rhode Island Transit Riders, wrote in a statement released Wednesday evening that Avedisian “leaves the agency at a time when it is facing many serious challenges — impending deficits, a driver shortage, efforts to move the central bus hub from Kennedy Plaza to a remote location, scant progress on the Transit Master Plan.”

“We believe this is an opportunity to replace RIPTA’s current CEO with a nationally recognized public transit leader who can provide the transformational leadership needed to turn RIPTA into a first-class public transit agency,” they wrote.

The Kennedy Plaza Resilience Coalition said, “Avedisian consistently aligned RIPTA in support of even the most farfetched schemes to move buses out of Kennedy Plaza. Where the hub was concerned he always tried to satisfy powerful leaders rather than serving bus riders’ needs.”

The coalition’s statement added, “Never did [Avedisian] show any concern for the suffering and transportation difficulties that these plans would cause for Rhode Island’s bus riders. Avedisian’s tenure is a reminder that RIPTA is constantly subjected to political interference that harms bus riders. We could have a much better system if transit professionals were left to do their jobs.”

Avedisian, a former mayor of Warwick, was appointed to lead RIPTA in 2018. The agency’s board voted to extend his contract for two more years last May, giving him a 2% raise that made his salary $181,795 annually.

Gov. Dan McKee called on the agency’s board of directors this week to hold a special meeting to discuss “the Avedisian matter.”

Avedisian leaves RIPTA as the agency deals with an $8 million budget shortfall and a controversial $17 million plan to move the transit hub from Kennedy Plaza to a parcel of land near Interstate 195, a move that has been criticized by transit advocates who say moving the bus hub away from the center of Providence would cause more problems than it would solve.

Note: This is a breaking story that will be updated.


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  1. the $17 million is not to actually move the bus hub out of Kennedy Plaza, it was just to hire a consulting team to plan the move and come up with a 60% design for the new hub building. The total cost of moving could be over $200 million as reported when the move to a Dorrance/Clifford St hub was being considered.
    Voters were told the bond from which that $17 million was taken was actually to fund “enhancements and renovations to mass transit hub infrastructure” and that it is being used by a nearly broke transit aegncy to fund planning an expensive move to a remote location (“Siberia” was McKee’s term) that almost nobody wants to go to while slowing trips and raising operating costs could be seen as a sign of madness

  2. Gee let me get this straight. You cause an automobile accident involving 3 cars and you leave the scene. Then you are allowed to resign from your job and get a golden parachute instead of getting fired and put on trial for leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident. He didn’t even ask if anyone was injured.

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