“Thirsty Thursday” creates mayhem for RIPTA riders

Kayla Ebner, Managing Editor

Hitting the bars on Thursday nights is a highly popular activity for students over the age of 21, but what about hitting the RIPTA?

The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) is a public bus system that is a popular form of transportation for underclassman, particularly freshman. This year especially, Thursday nights have resulted in huge crowds of freshman perched at the RIPTA stop near the Stonewall Terrace residence halls, waiting to go to the clubs in Providence. Unfortunately, these crowds are not always tame.

According to Todd Jackvony, Supervisor 19 for RIPTA, students at the stop were a “little rowdy” toward the beginning of the semester. For over two months, a RIPTA supervisor has been sitting outside the stop on certain nights in order to keep the large crowds under control.

Barbara Polichetti, director of Public Affairs at RIPTA, mentioned that it is not uncommon for supervisors to monitor certain stops. According to Polichetti, the route to Providence is in high-demand, particularly from the stop at RWU.

“Thursday is definitely the peak night,” Polichetti said.

Jackvony mentioned that they try to keep these situations under control not only for the safety of the students, but also out of respect for the other commuters who use the RIPTA to get to-and-from work.

RIPTA has been working with RWU’s own Department of Public Safety unit to ensure that these students do not get out of hand.

In addition to the presence of the RIPTA supervisor and Public Safety officers at the stop, RIPTA also added an extra bus on Thursday nights to accommodate the large crowds and to ensure that the commuters have their own bus, free of rowdy college students.

On Thursday nights, instead of only one, regularly scheduled bus coming at 9:20 p.m., RIPTA sends an additional bus at 9:15 p.m. that is used exclusively for college students. According to Jackvony, the 9:15 p.m. bus specifically for college students is normally sent straight to Providence with no other stops in between. However, if there are commuters on that bus, they have the opportunity to get off wherever they need to.

Garrett Coyne, Public Safety officer at RWU, noted that the supervision method has definitely worked when keeping the students under control.

“They know there’s a presence here,” said Coyne. “They know they can’t get away with doing something.”

The RIPTA supervisors and Public Safety officers do their best to make sure that no fluids are allowed on the bus, although students are still able to sneak alcohol on occasionally, according to Coyne. Jackvony also mentioned that students sometimes try to light cigarettes on the bus, but alcohol consumption is the main problem.

Jackvony mentioned that the bus situation has been calmer lately and believes the system they have implemented is the main contributing factor.