Submitted by Doobz87 t3_1180clj in RhodeIsland

Hello friends! I've recently decided to really start cracking at my social anxiety and getting "out there" more often and since I'm a wheelchair user and don't have a car, I'm left with public transportation since Uber and Lyft type services are regularly discriminatory towards disabled people with mobility devices.

I was wondering, for those of you who use RIPTA a lot, what should I know? Are there do's and don'ts? I've already downloaded the Wave app and loaded it with some money, as well as looked up some routes (like from my house to Walmart/The MBTA station, the mall etc) so I'm not totally in the dark, but I'd like some insider knowledge, so to speak. Thanks! 👨🏻‍🦽

Edit: Also, is Google Maps good for trip planning? Does it show stops accurately?



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NoGrain_215 t1_j9exi31 wrote

The Transit app is pretty good - RIPTA is partnered with the app, and as far as I know, most of the buses have their location tracked via gps. Good for planning when/how late a bus will be.


For MBTA, the new Pawtucket Station is probably pretty accessible (at least I hope so, it was just built!). I know that the R and 1 both stop there, a lot of other routes do as well. Depending on where you are in the city, that could be an option.


Doobz87 OP t1_j9eyvql wrote

Ah I forgot to mention I also have the Transit app, though it's a bit confusing for me so I'll have to practice using it more. As far as the new MBTA station goes, I wheeled down there a few times already and checked it out a bit. I will say the ramps are ridiculously steep to the point they made me nervous and I've been doing all kinds of ramps for the last 33 years. I'm just glad there's an elevator!


NoGrain_215 t1_j9f1buv wrote

Ah, thanks for your perspective! I am glad that they put an elevator in then!


Tisathrowaway837 t1_j9ew7ke wrote

I would recommend using the RIDE program for specific routes with overly long commute time. It would take three hours to get to Newport from where I live so that option just makes more sense rather than switching three buses

I am visually impaired but do not have the same mobility requirements as you, so can’tspeak to that aspect.

You already have the app set up. It’s pretty smooth sailing most of the time. Be at the bus stop a few minutes early.


beta_vulgaris t1_j9fjke2 wrote

I love riding RIPTA! You will find that there are so many great places in this state that you can get to using transit. In addition to the urban core of Providence/Pawtucket/CF, the entire East Bay & Newport are fully accessible via transit as well as much of the West Bay.

A great RIPTA "hack" is that you do not need to go to Kennedy Plaza to transfer buses. Most transfers downtown can be done at the Train Station, the East Side Tunnel, or the Pedestrian Bridge. I used to not mind being in KP, but in the past few years it is constantly filthy, with lots of cigarette smoke, people fighting...just all around unpleasant to be in. Riding RIPTA is more pleasant if you can avoid spending time in that area.


MarlKarx-1818 t1_j9eo88m wrote

At least in Providence, google maps is fairly accurate for where the stops are. When they do move, it does take a while for to update though.


grem111 t1_j9fghrq wrote

Do make sure you are visible and can wave down the driver if they don't see you at the stop- if there is no one there they will keep going. I had a couple buses ignore me some years back and ever since i always give them a friendly wave if i don't see them put the turn signal on to pull up to the stop I'm at. I imagine this could be harder and require more planning if you're shorter and can't get out into the street with the curb drop bc of wheelchair.


Working-Tomatillo995 t1_j9gsju8 wrote

If you’re waiting at a regular stop (not like KP or the train station) you may need to wave at the driver or be really visible. By contrast, it is polite, though not necessary, to shake your head to let the drivers of buses you aren’t taking know that they don’t have to stop.


vegemouse t1_j9gnv2u wrote

The R line is free! Take advantage of it. Be sure to thank the bus driver when you get off, but nothing special to it. Bus drivers here are usually really nice.


ggtoday6 t1_j9i80fq wrote

There isn't much RIPTA service in my area but often take public transit when I travel and I always make sure to talk to the driver. Luckily i haven't been on many packed buses so it's been easy to say, "hey, I'm new to this route and need to get off at XYZ stop, I'm gonna follow along but would appreciate your help". I also try to board last so that I can observe how others are paying, but also helps if you're fumbling for change/app/ tickets, the driver might just say "take your seat and pay before you leave." I don't know much about accessibility features on RIPTA but there's likely a customer service line you can call to ask what to expect.

Kinda outside of your question but it may be of interest to you: there is a RI RIPTA Riders group organized with the George Wiley Center in Pawtucket who stay on top of the local public transit world and makes sure riders have a say when it comes to proposed policy and route changes.

Good luck and enjoy your excursions!


minivanswag t1_j9i90ir wrote

Thank you for raising awareness on this topic and on this sub!