The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) unveiled its new high-frequency bus corridor serving the city of Providence.
Members of the state’s Congressional delegation, Governor Dan McKee, and Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza joined RIPTA officials on Monday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The Downtown Transit Connector (DTC) runs from Rhode Island Hospital to the Providence Train Station with five-minute frequency. It features several key transit infrastructure improvements such as bus-only travel lanes, traffic signals that give priority to buses, and custom shelters with real-time digital information signage. There are also designated bike lanes along portions of the 1.4-mile corridor that also create a direct bus-rail connection in the city.
RIPTA is able to provide the frequent service by funneling seven bus routes through the corridor which traverses the city’s growing Innovation and Design District. The frequent service began running last year, as construction continued on the bus lanes and other features.
“Although this past year was a difficult one for everyone, we are happy to be able to gather together to celebrate this project,” said RIPTA CEO Scott Avedisian. “The DTC is an important transit improvement for our capital city, and it is also example of public partners working together on a project that uses federal funds to support economic growth and enhance people’s quality of life.”
The roughly $17-million project is funded largely by a $13 million U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER grant initially awarded to Providence in 2015 for a streetcar project. The remaining funds are coming from the state.
“Safe. Convenient. Comfortable. Frequent. Reliable. Affordable. Accessible. That’s what riders want and what RIPTA is delivering with this new downtown connector service,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, a senior member of the appropriations committee. “This streamlined service will help get people where they need to go, whether it’s work, school, medical care, shopping, or entertainment.”
The seven RIPTA routes running through the DTC — Routes 3, 4, 51, 54, 58, 62 and 72 — travel primarily along Dorrance and Eddy Streets. The five-minute frequency they provide more than doubles past service levels in the Innovation District and surrounding Jewelry District neighborhood. The DTC also directly connects nearby colleges and universities to new medical and innovation centers.
“In Providence, we invest in transportation innovation by prioritizing equity and ease," said Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. "The Downtown Transit Connector expands our city's high-quality, affordable transit options while simultaneously improving accessibility to allow for growth and development. I am confident that the DTC will move us even closer to becoming a city that works for everyone."