The R-Line is free to ride. Staffing shortages have led to service disruptions impacting some Providence school district students.

Last-reviewed: 9am, Sept. 23, 2022

Key Resources:

  • Public transportation: RIPTA
  • Non-emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT): MTM

The Basics

  • As of September 1, the R-line is free to ride.
  • Some Providence school district students may be impacted by RIPTA’s staffing shortages. Check RIPTA’s Service alerts for more information.
  • RIPTA is inviting public input on an ADA Paratransit Expansion Study.
  • Masks are optional for RIPTA passengers.
  • Some RIPTA offices remain closed. More information here.
  • RIPTA bus riders can take the bus free out of Central Falls.
  • Free bus transportation is available to and from vaccination sites. Ride sharing companies like Uber are offering free rides to vaccination appointments.
  • Reduced fare programs are available to eligible RIPTA riders.
    • RIPTA offers a reduced fare bus pass program for low-income seniors (age 65 or over) and low-income persons with disabilities. See here
    • Military veterans who need transportation support are encouraged to contact the Rhode Island Office of Veterans Services (RIVETS). See here
  • Starting July 2023, the DMV will be able to let undocumented Rhode Islanders who can verify they’ve filed their taxes as a state resident or have been a dependent to someone who does in the prior year apply for driving privileges.
  • Numerous transit expansions and plans for Kennedy Plaza have been proposed, such as Transit Forward’s RI Transit Master Plan and Imagine Downtown’s plan, as alternatives to RIDOT’s Multi-Hub Bus System.

The Breakdown

Public Transportation
  • RIPTA staffing shortages have led to service disruptions impacting some Providence school district students. Students can use this Trip Planner to map out their routes. 
  • As part of a year-long pilot, the R-line will be free to ride. The R-line is RIPTA’s highest ridership route. More information here.
  • RIPTA is conducting a  paratransit expansion study that will inform the design of a statewide paratransit service. The public is invited to participate in virtual meetings on September 20 and September 21 to share their input. More information here.
  • The Ride Free in Central Falls program offers free rides on RIPTA’s buses to riders who start their trips in Central Falls.
  • The Federal Transit’s Authority’s mask requirement for public transportation riders ended after a successful court challenge. As of April 20, 2022, RIPTA riders are encouraged but not required to wear masks
  • Reduced fares are available to Veterans, low-income seniors and people with disabilities. More information here.
Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT)
  • MTM, the state vendor for NEMT for Medicaid patients, continues to provide transportation for essential medical appointments. 
  • RIPIN can also offer support for NEMT-related questions.
  • MTM will also continue to offer reimbursements for caregivers providing transportation for Medicaid patients.
  • Transportation to COVID-19 testing sites: MTM has policies and procedures in place to transport Medicaid and those individuals who qualify for the Elderly Transportation Program (ETP).
    • This transportation is available only if there is no other means of transport, and other eligibility criteria has been met. Eligible individuals can call: 1-855-330-9131.

The Bottom Line

  • Public transportation is available in RI as is NEMT for Medicaid patients who need to keep their essential medical appointments.