The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) today announced that it will implement winter service changes effective Saturday, January 15, 2022.

RIPTA is also reminding passengers that, as previously announced, as of January 15, paper fare products will no longer be accepted on buses. RIPTA says in a press release that this is the final step in their transition to the new contactless smart fare collection system called Wave.

RIPTA first introduced Wave to the public on September 8, 2020, and has since been encouraging passengers to transition to this smart fare technology.

The Kennedy Plaza Ticket Window will reopen temporarily for two weeks to help passengers transition to Wave, according to RIPTA.

The service changes consist mostly of minor service adjustments and are part of regular service adjustments RIPTA makes three times a year in response to seasonal changes and/or passenger use.

RIPTA notes that one change involves expanding the service provided by the 281 Woonsocket Flex to include Manville.

Also, for the first time ever, Sunday service has been added to Route 14 between Newport, CCRI Warwick, Jefferson Blvd., and Providence. Route 28 will now serve Market Basket in Johnston. Route 54 will now serve bus stops along Powder Hill Road in Lincoln.

The following routes will be affected by the winter service changes:
14 West Bay
20 Elmwood Ave/Airport
22 Pontiac/Malls/CCRI Warwick
28 Broadway/Hartford
30 Oaklawn/Malls/CCRI
51 Charles/Twin River/CCRI
54 Lincoln/Woonsocket
58 Mineral Spring/North Providence
63 Broadway/Middletown
73 Mineral Spring/Twin River/CCRI
75 Dexter/Lincoln Mall
76 Central Ave.
80 Armistice Blvd.
87 Fairmount/Walnut Hill
281 Woonsocket Flex

RIPTA also provided the following updates in the press release;

KENNEDY PLAZA TICKET WINDOW HOURS

In an effort to assist passengers with the transition to Wave, the Kennedy Plaza Ticket Window will reopen temporarily from Saturday, January 15 through Saturday, January 29, 2022. The Ticket Window will be open Monday through Friday from 8am to 4pm and on Saturday from 9am to 5pm; closed on Sunday. Passengers will be able to purchase a Wave smart card with a $5 activation fee, as well as ask any questions.

FARE CHANGES

As of January 15, 2022, paper fare products will no longer be accepted on buses (except for paper Monthly Passes which will be accepted on board through March). RIPTA will no longer issue transfers on buses and all trips will be exact change only. Cash payments will still be accepted on buses, but no change cards will be issued if it is not exact payment.

Paying with cash? It will cost $2 per boarding.

Paying with Wave? It will cost $2 for one hour of unlimited rides. Launched in September 2020, the Wave smart fare system gives passengers the option of paying their bus fare with either a reloadable smart card or a new mobile app and is already being used by 40,000 RIPTA passengers.

Regarding fare changes and the switch from paper products, RIPTA officials stressed that passengers will not lose any monetary value since they can exchange paper products – no matter how old – for equal value on Wave.

There are no changes to the RIde program at this time.

Wave Exchange
In order to exchange paper products for equal value on Wave, passengers simply have to create a Wave account, fill out a form and then mail their fare products to RIPTA. Once the paper fare value is verified, the value is then transferred to the passenger’s Wave account. Detailed instructions are available at RIPTA.com/exchange.

Wave Advantages for Customers
The new Wave smart fare system offers many advantages for customers, regardless of whether they choose to use the plastic smart card or the mobile app. Below are some of the highlights:

· No more lost fare products. If you lose your registered Wave smart card, you can simply go online, cancel the lost card and transfer the balance to your replacement card.

· No more searching for cash to board the bus if you didn’t buy a pass ahead of time. The value you add to your account is available on your card or mobile app instantly.

· Get credit for the trips you take with the “Earn As You Go” feature. Wave keeps track of your trips so you never have to pay more than you need to. Once you spend $6 in a single day – the price of a Day Pass – you have earned the pass and will be not charged again that day no matter how many times you ride. The same is true for RIPTA’s Monthly Pass which costs $70. Once a passenger spends that amount in a calendar month, they are not charged for any rides for the rest of that month.

· Always be ready to ride. Passengers can use the auto reload feature on their account to make sure they always have value on their card or mobile app.

Passengers can download the Wave mobile app, available for both Android and Apple mobile devices, or obtain a plastic Wave smart card. Smart cards are available with a $5 activation fee from participating retailers, as well as directly from www.wave.ripta.com. Passengers can reload their Wave smart cards with cash at CVS, Speedway, Family Dollar, 7-Eleven, Shaw’s, and Walgreens. Visit https://wave.ripta.com/get-a-card/ for a full list of participating retailers.

All of the details are on the Wave website, and passengers can watch this instructional video. They can also contact RIPTA Customer Service at 401-784-9500 x2012 for more information.

Passengers are strongly encouraged to check new schedules for how service changes may affect them. The service changes and all schedule information is available on www.ripta.com. Also, passengers may call Customer Service for information at 401-781-9400.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What's Up Newp. He was born and raised in Rhode Island and graduated from Coventry High School. He serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors for Potter League for Animals. Ryan also is currently the Senior Editor - North America for Mountain News, publisher of OnTheSnow. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).