BandA wrote:The location of the new Pawtucket-Central Falls station is not mentioned in the article. Just south of the Central Falls city line is a bit imprecise. And the illustration artist spelled it "PAWTVCKET-CENTRAL-FALLS" just like you would if you were a 19th-century stone carver.
So presently I assume lots of riders from RI board at South Attleboro; I assume MA taxpayers are presently subsidizing them. If you put S Attleboro and Pawtucket in the same fare zone you will sort the MA and RI riders so that one can figure out if the payment formulas are correct???.
Well, it's kind of a semantic thing. The Pilgrim Agreement doesn't allow RIDOT to pay for service in Massachusetts, but because the MBTA district charter doesn't allow MA taxpayers to pay for any service outside of MA they're chucking in pretty generous reimbursement. Schedules, staff, and the whole ops shebang scales to running time across the border, and they pay in a % ownership stake for the entire commuter rail equipment pool (i.e. everything, including the stuff that never ventures southside) that likewise scales up elastically. And they own the land and financed large portion of Pawtucket layover. The T outright makes (small) money on Rhode Island, which is why they're happy as hell to run intrastate service for them.
As for South Attleboro, RIPTA routes 1 (College Hill to Downtown Pawtucket & Park Terrace) and 35 (East Providence via Rumford) now cross the border to loop at the station, and Route 76 (downtown to Seekonk w/ GATRA transfer at state line) has a stop 3 blocks shy of the station on its east-west routing. That's a relatively new thing, as it's only been within the last 3 years that RIPTA signed the legalese to officially cross the border. They re-drew their whole route map once they had that go-ahead. Route 1's one of the busiest on the whole system slicing around the densest part of Pawtucket, and has 20-min. frequencies at peak. A lot of that ridership overload at SA comes from bus transferees, with it ratcheting up a few notches since RIPTA gained direct access to the station busway.
Pawtucket station is going to be a lot of help for the overstuffed 1 as more of that route clusters around downtown density. But the northern half of the route along the east side of the river through Park Terrace is still primarily a South Attleboro catchment, and will re-fill right up as the transit options increase and more people can get a seat. They'll definitely be re-drawing that system map once more to take advantage of the new station right down the street from the bus depot where all the downtown Pawtucket routes cluster. That'll likely involve increases in frequencies on the other routes that hit SA or vicinity because of the way travel patterns will change with Pawtucket-Central Falls, the relief it provide at peak crowding, and the equipment freed up to bolster frequencies elsewhere. You may even see more intensive cross-state overlap between RIPTA and GATRA with the network effects that a second CR stop offers the Pawtucket end of the system. So you will probably count fewer Ocean State license plates clogging the SA parking lot immediately after the new stop opens and a short-term dip in the ridership (until the Mass. plates grab every freed-up space), but it's a long-term situation where they're reloading
with better car-free options to SA from a wider area through re-drawn bus routes and better frequencies touching the corner of the RIPTA district wedged up against the state line with Attleboro and Seekonk. That's unequivocally a good thing for Massachusetts, and for the farebox recovery the T draws at South Attleboro.