City residents fight RIPTA to keep bus stop

Residents at the Hillcrest Village apartment complex speak out at a meeting with officials from the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority about the importance of keeping the bus stop outside their building.

Frustrated residents at the Hillcrest Village apartment complex in Providence came together with a common purpose Thursday, to reinstate public bus service outside their building.

"It's important for just about everybody in the building. There's 150 people in the building and 70 percent of them rely on the bus," said Rafael DeLeon.

The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority recently put up signs outside the building saying the bus would stop coming starting Saturday. Officials said they don't have enough money to stop at locations off the main roads.

"We did this because demand for bus service has been growing and RIPTA does not have enough resources to meet that demand," said Amy Pettine of RIPTA.

Most people who live at the complex don't have cars.

Betsy, who is in a wheelchair, has to care for her young son. When the bus doesn't come to Hillcrest, she travels a quarter of a mile in her chair with her son on her lap.

"It can get scary sometimes," she said.

DeLeon said most people schedule their doctor's appointments around the bus schedule.

RIPTA officials said they didn't know until Thursday's meeting with residents how many people relied on the bus service. They told residents service will be reinstated Saturday, but weren't sure how long it will last.

"I am worried about that because they might just come back and say the might take it again," DeLeon said.

Accommodating the residents at Hillcrest Village could mean fewer stops elsewhere in Providence. RIPTA has yet to determine how the adjustment will impact other locations.