Rhode Island Wants to Link Up With the Commuter Rail

A proposed bill would allow passengers in the tiny state to use dual passes for both RIPTA and the Commuter Rail.

South Station photo uploaded by John Lodder on Flickr

South Station photo uploaded by John Lodder on Flickr

Rhode Island State Representative John J. Lombardi is looking to link up with the MBTA to launch a program to allow Rhode Island Public Transportation Authority bus passes to be used on the Commuter Rail trains.

In a proposal filed this week, Lombardi said he’s looking to update existing laws to create “parity” with MBTA commuter passes, since many Rhode Island residents travel in from Providence, along the Commuter Rail, to get into Boston for work. Riders from the area often use buses, and, subsequently, separate passes, to board vehicles that take them to one of three Commuter Rail stops.

Lombardi, who was not immediately available for comment Friday, wants to meet with MBTA officials to discuss the “feasibility” of allowing Commuter Rail passes to also be used on all RIPTA buses, making it easier to transfer from one mode of transposition to the next.  “Such rail passes shall serve as dual Rhode Island Public Transit Authority passes, and Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority passes,” according to details in the plan.

The Commuter Rail’s Providence-Stoughton Line runs from South Station to three stops in Rhode Island, including TF Green Airport and Wickford Junction. Lombardi said officials from both transit authorities would need to iron out details on how to share the costs of producing the dual passes, before anything moves forward.

Officials from the MBTA said they welcome the conversation. “The MBTA is always happy to discuss ways to improve service for our customers, including those in Rhode Island. We look forward to having a discussion with RIPTA on this particular issue if asked,” said T spokesperson Kelly Smith.

While the Commuter Rail is operated by Keolis America, the company that took over in July of last year after winning an eight-year contract, the MBTA handles all aspects of fare revenue collected from passengers riding the trains.