Ride the Bus and Explore on Bicycle This Summer

By BARRY SCHILLER

We environmentalists, and maybe most others, know we should drive less, but if you have a car the temptation is always there. However, before the summer is over, I do suggest trying one or more of these suggestions.

Because bikes aren’t allowed on the Jamestown or Newport bridges, new this summer is a free shuttle between North Kingstown, Jamestown, and Newport for bicycles and riders. It runs three times a day on Saturdays through Oct. 13. For example, the shuttle leaves the North Kingstown Route 1A park and ride at noon and at 2 and 4 p.m.

Thank you Bike Newport, the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority, and other partners for making this available.

This service is supplemented by bicycle racks on Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) Route 64 that goes between Newport, Jamestown, the University of Rhode Island, and the Kingston railroad station at least three times each way on Saturdays. For instance, it leaves URI for Newport 10:59 a.m., and 1:12, 3:27 and 5:37 p.m. The ride isn’t free — $2 each way — but there is no extra charge for bikes. There are 10 trips each way weekdays.

Another bike opportunity to Newport is the Seastreak Newport-Providence ferry.  On most days through Oct. 8 boats leave Providence at 9 a.m., noon, and 5:30 p.m. for the hour trip, and return from Newport at 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 7 p.m. Ferry fares are $10 each way and $5 for seniors and those with a disability. There is no charge for bikes, parking at the Providence ferry landing, and for the bus shuttle from the downtown train station to the ferry landing.

This ferry service is supplemented by RIPTA's frequent Route 60 Providence to Newport line.

Another opportunity this summer to not use a car is the MBTA’s $10 weekend fare good all weekend on all commuter train lines and zones through Sept. 2.  There are nine trains each way between Providence and Boston, and seven each way on Sunday. They all take bikes. The Charles River bikeways are easy to reach from Back Bay station. At Sharon Station, you can walk to Mass Audubon’s beautiful Moose Hill Sanctuary.

Finally, remember RIPTA and its bus bike racks are on all full-size buses as the buses go to the East Bay Path (routes 32, 33, 60), to the West Bay path (13, 17, 30, 31), to South County (64, 66), to Blackstone (71, 75), and to destinations such as Slater Mill, Museum of Work and Culture, Roger Williams Park, Colt Park, Narragansett Beach, URI, T.F. Green, and the South Attleboro, MSS., train station.

RIPTA also has special weekend beach bus expresses from the metro area to South County beaches.

Happy summer.

Barry Schiller, a transit rider and longtime transit advocate, is a former RIPTA board member.