|A straight-on view in Pawtucket.|
|Some trucks lined up.|
Luckily, this was only for a little while, as the trees came back to the median eventually. Around this time, we passed a cemetery, which was so big there were two stops along it. There was an industrial section, and then there were apartments on one side and a shopping plaza on the other. The street started to slope down a hill and split into two one-way roads. We were on Canal Street, which paralleled the Moshassuck River.
|Gotta love that blurry state house!|
|A different bus at Kennedy Plaza. This was taken later in the day.|
|Going over I-95.|
It went back to the house/business mix once more from there. At the intersection of Broad Street and Eddy Street, there was a small park, and this intersection marked the end of the route. Just barely entering Cranston, we pulled into a little terminal with not much point other than turning buses around.
|A different bus on its way back towards Providence and Pawtucket.|
Ridership: BUSY. In total, my trip had about 50 passengers (on Martin Luther King Day, no less), many of whom got on or off in Providence. Unfortunately, the R-Line is too new for RIPTA to have published ridership statistics for it, but it's a combination of the former two busiest RIPTA lines. You can imagine that the combined ridership of the two routes coupled with more frequent service will equal a lot of ridership.
Pros: There's not enough praise I can give to this route. Firstly, it takes a direct path, cutting from Pawtucket right through Providence down to the Cranston border. And not only does it serve a lot, but it does so frequently. We're talking every 10 minutes weekdays, every 15 minutes weekends, and every 20 minutes at night. Keep in mind that the 11 and 99 (the routes that the R-Line replaced) ran up to every 40 minutes on weekends! And it's because of this increased frequency that so many people use this route, since they can rely on it! It helps that it makes limited stops and has those cool little rapid bus perks to make the trip even faster.
Cons: I guess the only real con I have is that this isn't full-on BRT, but the roads the route on which the route travels aren't wide enough for bus lanes. They would have to get rid of parking, and no one wants that. The current "rapid bus" setup works great, anyway.
Nearby and Noteworthy: Ummm...right, so the neighborhoods this route goes through aren't what you'd call touristy. They're places where a lot of people use the bus, but they're not touristy. That said, if you're willing to walk through a park for a bit, the R-Line will get you pretty close to the Roger Williams Zoo (and it runs a lot more frequently than the 6, which directly serves the zoo, but that's for another post). Of course, there are a bunch of attractions in Providence, too.
Final Verdict: 10/10
Oh yeah, I just did that. I mean, come on, what isn't there to like about the R-Line? And besides, it's arguably the best route on the RIPTA, so relative to the rest of the system, a 10/10 makes perfect sense. The route's schedule card brags about how you don't have to look at timetables because it runs so frequently, and that's very true. I'm sure the R-Line gets way more ridership than what its predecessors got, simply because more frequency on an already busy corridor = more passengers. Simple as that.
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