I’ve covered so much of the RIPTA, but I have yet to do a formal review of its main hub, Kennedy Plaza! This changes now.

Inside the main building.

Kennedy Plaza’s indoor waiting area always has a ton of people in it. It gives you all the amenities you could ask for, including a ticket desk, a rack with paper schedules for every RIPTA route, seating space, wastebaskets, a nice mosaic, a water fountain, and a bathroom that was full of people doing, er, questionable things when I went in. Finally, there’s a vestibule where people like to wait as well, since it has screens showing the departure times for every RIPTA route that comes out of here! That’s very convenient.

Out on the plaza.

I love how this huge downtown plaza in Providence is dedicated to transit. That’s just so cool! Kennedy Plaza proper features a main shelter in the middle that has system maps and ticket vending machines, while there are berths spread out all over the place. They each get nice, modern glass shelters with little screens showing when the next bus is arriving at the berth.

The main building from outside.

RIPTA Station: Kennedy Plaza

Ridership: The station gets 69,000 people per day, according to a completely fabricated statistic on Wikipedia (believe me, I checked the source and this number doesn’t show up anywhere – the source did have RIPTA’s total ridership, which ended up being less than 69,000 a day). So that’s a bust, but regardless, this place is basically always busy – it gets good ridership, we’ll say.

Pros: Again, I love how Providence has dedicated its downtown to transit. There are plans to relocate the RIPTA hub to Providence Station and make Kennedy Plaza more of a recreational area, which should be…interesting (how will they get so many bus routes to fit in the tiny space around the station?), but for now, it’s a great setup. The building has a ton of amenities, and each berth is well-equipped with shelter and real-time arrival screens.

Cons: There’s no denying that the plaza is a breeding ground for questionable folks, and it’s apparently a big drug-dealing haven. As far as the station itself goes, the berth arrangements can be strange. They go way beyond the plaza itself, but signage around the station isn’t great, so it can be confusing to find them. Each berth can have as many as ten routes or as few as one, and there isn’t much rhyme or reason as to which route uses which berth.

Nearby and Noteworthy: We’re right in downtown Providence! Go and explore it! This is a really cool city, and it’s probably the most interesting place you can go on the Commuter Rail.

Final Verdict: 7/10
Kennedy Plaza really tries its best to be nice. Sometimes those efforts are compromised by some of the people that use the station, but I can’t blame it for that. At least it has lots of amenities and tries to be as welcoming as possible, unlike, say, Buckley. The one big problem I have with the plaza is the random berth locations and assignments – at the very least, there could be better signage that points the way to each berth.

Latest MBTA News: Service Updates