|The bus coming from a layover point at CCRI.|
|Also, here's another shot of the bus coming in.|
|Is this really a street that needs sweeping from these street sweepers?|
|The intersection with Mineral Spring Ave.|
|A side street with lots of houses.|
|Hmm...this intersection doesn't look too great.|
|Man, we're quite close to those tracks.|
|The bus at Kennedy Plaza.|
Ridership: This one is tricky. See, when RIPTA did its ridership counts, the 51 was a very different route, running between Providence and Pawtucket with infrequent service. At that time, it would get a measly 520 riders per weekday and 240 per Saturday, with no Sunday service. But now, with the CCRI routing, my ride got great ridership, with about 25 passengers in total. No one got on at CCRI or Twin River, though, so all of the ridership came from the urban section of the route.
Pros: There's a lot to like about this route. I love how it's basically straight all the way up to Twin River, and it serves a busy corridor along the way. It also has a great schedule for the RIPTA, with every half hour service weekdays and Saturdays, and every hour service nights and Sundays. I also really like how service to CCRI is scaled back to every 90 minutes on Saturdays and completely eliminated on Sundays, since it really doesn't have to go all the way up there on weekends. Trips terminate at Twin River when they don't go to CCRI.
Cons: However, I wonder if service even needs to go up to CCRI all the time on weekdays. I mean, on our trip, there was no one until Charles Street. Plus, the 54 provides express service from CCRI and Twin River to Providence, making the 51 kind of redundant. I'm wondering if short-turning every other 51 at Mineral Spring Ave would be worthwhile, since it seems like the large majority of ridership comes from south of there.
Nearby and Noteworthy: There were definitely businesses on Charles Street, but none of them were very appealing. I guess this is a fine connection to Twin River, but the 54 is faster.
Final Verdict: 7/10
For a non-key RIPTA route, the 51 has a great schedule. And based on the ridership I saw, that's definitely worth it. However, short-turning trips at Mineral Spring Ave could be worthwhile, especially during the summer when CCRI isn't in session. Other than that, though, this route does a good job and serves its corridor well!
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