Monday, October 20, 2008

How Important are Buses Here?

I can recall appx. 4 yrs. ago when RIPTA was also thinking of cutting local bus routes. Specifically, I recall they were cutting out one to URI. I went & testified here along with many others on the importance of keeping (and expanding) public discussion. As a teen & young adult living in Baltimore & HERE, that was how I got around. It took me to & from school, shopping, activities, AND WORK. It gave me a ride to URI & took me home. I spent lots of time locally & in Maryland sitting in bus depots. They also took me out of state.

I've been to Europe & travelled the glob using PUBLIC transportation- clean, cheap, convenient. I am printing this from Newport Rep candidate Peter Martin due to its importance. I can recall a few years ago seeing if I could obtain public transportation from my home to Roger Williams Univ. for my son. I finally just gave up. He just couldn't get there from here with ANY convenience at all. You needed a car. And that's just a distance of ?20-35 min. Unbelievable.

As a member of Middletown's Econ. Advisory Board, let me assure you that public transportation- esp. to our corporate part- matters. Sidewalks matter, too, but that's another topic for another day.

So comment!

"I am very concerned about the Proposed RIPTA Service Reductions as they pertain to Newport. I wrote the following letter to the editor. It was published in the Newport Daily News. I sent the same letter to RIPTA and the Sierra Club. How will we function without a viable public transportation system? Do any of your subscribers have comments on this issue?

To the Editor:

I have been an advocate of public transit for many years.

Last week, I was able to spend more than 5 hours at the RIPTA public hearings regarding the 'Proposed Service Reductions Statewide'.

During the afternoon session, I was able to listen to the presentation from RIPTA and then to listen to more than 31 citizens express their concerns about how these 'service reductions' will affect their lives.

Many of these people expressed concern that they will be losing the paratransit ADA service that is associated with the cancelled bus routes. Some of them are dependent on this service for dialysis treatments.

Other speakers represented the residents of Harbor House; the residents of Newport Heights and Park Holm; the students of Salve Regina; the Newport Energy & Environment committee; the Rogers High School students; the Community College of Rhode Island; the ATU Local 618; the Sierra Club; and citizens with special needs.

If this plan is accepted as presented, Newport citizens will lose the #62 Thames Street and the #64 URI buses. In addition to the loss of the regular bus routes or route segments, the service will end at 7 pm for many of the remaining routes.

These buses and trolleys are more than moving billboards. They are essential to an economically viable community. Not every one can afford, or would choose to afford, an automobile. Not every one is ‘able’ to drive.

The problem is presented as one of economics. I see it as one of priorities. The formula used to fund RIPTA is contra-productive and needs to be changed. Public transit does not usually cover its own financial needs. By its nature, it requires subsidies. We must work with the RIPTA board to find new sources of funding to keep this system viable.

If you can't move the people, you can't move the economy.Peter Martin
Candidate – District 75
Rhode Island House of Representatives"
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