The Rhode Island Department of Transportation is trying to increase traveler awareness of a transit option, and get more travelers off a busy highway, by giving free commuter rail rides through yearend on Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority trains moving between Rhode Island stops.
“Rhode Island ranks on the bottom when it comes to the percentage of travelers who use transit as opposed to cars, yet we have the infrastructure and train service to make it easy for people to get around our state without a car,” said RIDOT Director Peter Alviti.
He added: “Making it free for a period of time will make more people aware of this great service and provide them an opportunity try it and use it on a regular basis.”
Specifically, RIDOT said it is “encouraging Rhode Islanders to leave their cars at home for the daily trip to work, catching a flight, or a visit to the capital city by making in-state travel free on trains between Wickford Junction, T.F. Green and Providence stations.”
It began offering the free rides July 3, saying it wants to entice more people to use the train “instead of the busy Route 4 highway corridor and the subsequent challenges of driving into and parking in Providence,” the state capital.
The announcement noted that parking at Wickford Junction Station is free year-round, and that the facility – “located minutes from Exit 5 on Route 4 in North Kingstown, includes covered garage parking, restrooms, a climate-controlled indoor waiting area, electric car charging stations and vending machines.” The MTBA’s Wickford Junction and T.F. Green stations offer 20 weekday stops with service to Providence.
RIDOT noted that while the free travel is only to Providence, travelers wishing to continue to Boston may buy tickets on the train or through the MBTA’s mobile ticketing app on their smartphones.
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