Commuter Rail

Commuter RailWhenever I visit North Kingstown in Rhode Island, I’m reminded about one of the state’s most underutilized, energy-saving resources – the Wickford Junction MBTA Station. The station opened two years ago. It cost the state of Rhode Island 44 million dollars to build and it costs $721,629 per year to operate and maintain. It is a beautiful station with a 400-foot wind turbine in the background. It was built with new technology, including energy efficient lights and charging stations for electric cars.

Every time I drive past the station, the parking lot is empty. So I did some research and found out that there are 1100 parking spaces with only 175 riders per day. Only 16% of the parking spaces are being utilized, which doesn’t take into account that some riders are dropped off at the station. In an effort to encourage more riders, the state of Rhode Island offered free parking if you rode the train. Still the numbers remained the same.

If I lived in North Kingstown, I would utilize the Wickford Junction MBTA Station. The fare from North Kingstown to Boston is $9.00/one way (half price for students and seniors). With the cost of gas at $3.50/gallon, there is no way that I could drive round trip to Boston for $9.00. There is also the added bonus of reducing CO2 emissions by taking the train. In conclusion, riding the commuter rail is good on the pocketbook and great for the environment!

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