As a commuter there’s a few things you rely on to make sure you make it to class on time. Your car, finding a parking spot and the Hill Climber.
The Hill Climber, which runs from the Plains Road lot to the top of campus, is what most commuters use to get to their classes. However, many students experience frustration with the buses that help them get to class.
“I take them every day, three times a day,” Sophomore Elizabeth Piotrowski said. “In the morning it’s not that bad but the sign says they’re supposed to come every six minutes but it’s more like every 15. In the afternoon, it’s not that great. I feel like there’s less buses.”
Some students complain about the lack of large buses on the routes during some hours of the day.
“It seems like they run the small buses sometimes when they need the big buses and vice versa,” Junior Jared Flamand said. “It’s kind of weird but they probably know the scheduling better than I do.”
According to Joe Paradise, manager of parking and transportation services, the Hill Climber is supposed to run every six to 12 minutes and but delays are caused by construction, route changes and traffic on campus.
Paradise also said that there is always one large bus, which can safely hold 45 passengers, on the Hill Climber route at all times. During peak hours in the morning there is a second large bus that runs the route and is later replaced by a small bus which holds about 15 to 16 passengers.
The other bus route on campus, the Ram Line, runs to Keaney lot, to the Union and to the library. That route has four small buses that run during the morning and then only three buses continue running on that route after 2 p.m.
“16 passenger buses are not are not effective up here on the hill climber route,” Paradise said. “We try to monitor the ridership numbers and if the demand isn’t there [for the ram line] we can shift one of the smaller buses to that [the Hill Climber] route.”
According to Paradise the shift isn’t something that can happen in real time because of the communication that need to happen with RIPTA for it to be done, but Paradise is looking to approve upon that in the future.
The University just agreed upon a parking and transportation master plan for the next few years and Paradise said that there’s a lot of recommendations that have been coming in regarding parking and transportation and that the University is currently working to implement them.
Paradise said that the closing of Dairy Barn Lot for a new residential hall shouldn’t affect the bus route but will increase demand for the buses as more commuters will be shifted to Plains Road Lot as Flagg Road Lot becomes residential only. Paradise said that they will add a small bus as needed to address the demand increase on the Hill Climber route.
Students can use an app to track the location of buses on campus. The app can be found at bus.apps.uri.edu but Paradise warns that the GPS service for the Hill Climber buses is not great and can be spotty at times and that there is about a 30 second delay in the information relayed to the app.
Paradise said that if anyone has any complaints about the RIPTA bus service that they should contact Parking and Transportation Services via phone or email. The information that is needed to report a complaint would be the date and time as well as the bus number and the bus stop.