Commuters should be excused from RIPTA tardiness

Life of a commuter is not easy. Commuting to school, for many people, saves a great amount of spending that students living on campus have on room and board. However, it can be both time and energy consuming. Although commuting through public transportation can reduce expenditure on gasoline, the most inconvenient part is its uncontrollable nature.

Many of the commuters of the University of Rhode Island live in the northern area of Rhode Island. For those that ride buses to school, they have to take more than one bus to reach their destination. That is because only one bus, route 66, goes directly to URI. They have to first take a bus from the city or area they live in to Kennedy Plaza in downtown Providence, which is the terminal to all routes. Next, they will transfer to bus 66 to head to URI.

That is where problems arise. All bus riders plan their travelling according to the times on the schedules designed by the Rhode Island Public Transportation Authority (RIPTA). The schedules can be found either online or on paper at the terminal.  The schedules provide an exact time that buses will arrive at a certain destination. Bus riders rely on the times given on the schedules to decide when they will leave home and what time they will transfer to the next bus.

Although bus drivers are expected to arrive at all destinations as schedules or merely one to two minutes different, many are not on time. Both early and late arrivals can create inconveniences to one’s entire travel plan. If the first bus that a student is taking arrives at the terminal late, he/she might miss the second bus to URI; if the second bus departs early, he/she might also miss the bus. Since route 66 serves about once an hour, missing one means another wait of one hour at the terminal. Sometimes, a student might miss an entire class as a result of a one-minute late arrival of the previous bus.

During last spring semester, I had a 9 a.m. class and I was commuting from Cranston. My plan was to take the 7:35 a.m. bus from Cranston, which will arrive at the terminal at 7:46 a.m., then go on the bus to URI that leaves the terminal at 7:50 a.m., which would be at URI at 8:46 a.m. For three times, the bus that came from Cranston was over five minutes late. As a result, I arrived at Kennedy Plaza one or two minutes after route 66 left. One time, I saw the bus leaving but I was too far away from it to catch it. I had to walk in that class about half an hour after the class started.

There are worse cases. Last fall semester, some classes were scheduled at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Many students took bus 66 from the terminal at 8:30 a.m. which would get to URI at 9:21 a.m. However, one particular bus driver has been coming to the terminal over 20 minutes late. Consequently, many students were very late to their classes.

Many classes begin with short assessments or activities that are counted as part of the final grade. Commuters might occasionally miss them due to unexpected delays and early arrivals of public transportation. In that case, they should be excused from missing the assignments and given a second chance to make up their work.