• October 22, 2020 |

    the joys of public transit

    a guide to RIPTA-friendly destinations

    article by , illustrated by

    the joys of public transit: a guide to RIPTA-friendly destinations


    Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) buses are a common sight to any Brown student who has walked by the tunnel on Thayer. However, it seems that this is where familiarity with the buses stops for most students at Brown. I’ve spoken to countless students, and only a handful of them have actually ridden a RIPTA bus—most of them only once or twice. I, however, have traveled on them many times, varying from short five-minute rides to one this last summer that lasted about two hours (all the way from the Block Island Ferry in Narragansett to the train station in Providence!). Without a doubt, I love riding RIPTA buses. And because I want tons of other students at Brown to also enjoy them—especially since we have the privilege of not having to technically pay fare—I have compiled a short list of some places to go to on a RIPTA bus! You can also find a list of bus schedules on the RIPTA website.


    Kennedy Plaza

    Being able to get to Kennedy Plaza is essential to travelling to basically any other location via a RIPTA bus. Fortunately, you can get there by hopping on any of the buses that stop at the Tunnel After Thayer stop (across from the Starbucks). These include the 1, 32, 34, 40, and 49. Once you’re on one of these bad boys, you simply have to wait out a tunnel and a few short minutes to find yourself at Kennedy Plaza, Providence’s largest bus hub, where every RIPTA bus stops. The only things here are other people and tons of pigeons, but it’s a great place to transfer buses if you want to go somewhere farther in Rhode Island! 


    Wayland Square

    Contrary to what I just said, you don’t need to go to Kennedy Plaza to get to Wayland Square—and no, I’m not talking about Wayland Arch or the Wayland dorm building. Wayland Square is a little way east of campus, and it contains a multitude of great shops and eateries: Wayland Square Diner, Books on the Square, lululemon, and a much better Starbucks than the one on Thayer. While the walk there from campus is only around 15 minutes, riding a RIPTA bus is a great way to save on time or stay warm during cold weather. Just hop on the 32, 33, or 34 at the Tunnel Before Thayer bus stop, and you’ll be in Wayland Square in no time.


    Savers in East Providence

    You don’t need to go to Kennedy Plaza to get to Savers in East Providence either. If you wait at the Tunnel Before Thayer bus stop, both the 33 and the 34 will take you to the Savers located in Wampanoag Plaza in East Providence in about 20 minutes. Savers, as many of us know, is a thrift store that offers secondhand clothing, furniture, books, and other household items! Right next door is a Stop & Shop, so after you’ve completed your latest wardrobe upgrade, you can pick up some groceries before your bus ride back to campus.


    Narragansett Beach

    The bus ride to Narragansett Beach is a long one, clocking in at about an hour and 20 minutes! This is something I’ve never done, but I have had friends make this journey and say it was worth it. All you have to do is take a bus down to Kennedy Plaza, board the 14, and it will bring you all the way to Narragansett Beach. Again, this is a rather long bus ride, but getting out of the hustle and bustle of College Hill and enjoying a nice day at the beach makes the trek worthwhile—while remaining COVID-19 friendly!


    Blackstone Park

    There isn’t a RIPTA bus that takes you directly to Blackstone Park, but the walk from the bus stop to Blackstone is much nicer on your feet than the walk from campus. At Tunnel Before Thayer, take either the 32, 33, or 34, and alight at Waterman After Butler. From there, it’s a comfy 12-minute walk north on Butler Avenue and then east on East Orchard Avenue. It’s really not that bad, especially because Blackstone Park is beautiful. I recommend going around this time of year, when the trees are a comforting mixture of orange, yellow, and brown. The peaceful atmosphere of birds singing and leaves falling is a million times more soothing than the droning of your computer after 12 hours of use per day.


    Riding RIPTA buses is incredibly useful and full of plus sides. It is cheaper than requesting a rideshare and most likely more environmentally friendly (I’m not an environmental studies concentrator, so I’m not 100% certain, but I’m, like, 85% certain). Of course, other than being COVID-19 cautious, we have to be cognizant about the fact that we are sharing these buses with Rhode Island residents. Many of us aren’t riding the bus because it’s the only way we can get to work or to school. Although I’d love for more of us to take advantage of public transit, I also believe that we should be incredibly respectful to Rhode Island residents who are also on the bus: don’t take up too much space, keep your voices to a low volume, and always make sure to clean up after yourself. RIPTA buses are a great form of public transit—let’s keep them that way by fostering positive relationships with the greater Rhode Island community while riding buses together!