It’s always nice to come back to a system that actually knows what it’s doing. The RIPTA runs the 56 every 15 minutes, which really is awesome. Though Josh and I rode it on a Saturday, when its service drops to half-hourly, it was clear that this is a great route.


Josh and I picked the bus up at Providence Station, because…well, it was easier than walking to Kennedy Plaza, and it’s not like a large portion of the route was missed. From there, we headed up Gaspee Street and turned onto Smith Street, running around the beautiful Rhode Island State House. There were some other government buildings along Smith Street, but once we went over I-95, it instantly shifted to dense businesses and houses.

I love that building!

We were running with the 57 all this time, but eventually we turned onto Chalkstone Ave, beginning our independent section. Chalkstone was much more residential than Smith Street, and it had a ton of dense houses along it. After a park and a middle school, we went up a hill and served two hospitals across the street from each other: one of them, the Roger Williams Medical Center, had a roadside stop, while we did a deviation into the parking lot of the other, the Providence VA Medical Center.

It’s funny that a bus does this deviation every 15 minutes on weekdays!

Chalkstone Ave got some businesses back after those hospitals, and we were once again in a residential/retail mix. It became all houses soon enough, though, aside from one more retail spurt at the intersection with Mount Pleasant Ave (where we connected with the 92). The route got a lot more suburban after that, as the road got much hillier and curvier. We went by a golf course, as well as more spaced-out houses, and finally, we arrived at Stop & Shop. End of the line!

Wow, another creepshot…

RIPTA Route: 56 (Chalkstone Ave)

Ridership: Based on my ride, the 56 gets great ridership. There were 18 people on the Saturday I took this, and a bunch of them used it for local trips: about two thirds of them came from Kennedy Plaza or the train station, but there were a good amount of people just getting on at local stops. That was great to see!

Pros: The 56 serves an important corridor and it does it with great frequency for the most part. On weekdays, like I’ve said about a million times already, it runs every 15 minutes, while weeknights and on Saturdays, it’s every half hour.

Cons: It becomes every hour on Saturday nights, which I understand, but that same frequency on Sundays is questionable. After all, this is billed as a “Key Corridor Route”! Granted, I’m sure the ridership on Sundays matches the frequency, but it’s just sad to think that a key route would run every hour.

Nearby and Noteworthy: A ton of small businesses and restaurants, but nothing stood out.

Final Verdict: 8/10
There’s not much else to say about this one! It’s generally direct (aside from the one hospital deviation) and it usually runs with high frequency. Well, at the very least, the frequency always matches the ridership.

Latest MBTA News: Service Updates