When the morning radio or television station is giving the bad news about slow traffic on Route 4 and I-95 because of snowy conditions, many South County commuters won't be concerned because they take commuter rail to work in Providence. Those who are thinking about joining them in the hassle-free way to work this winter now have a chance to try it for free.
As an invitation to try the train service from Wickford Junction Station in North Kingstown, Governor Lincoln D. Chafee and the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) are announcing "Wickford Wintertime Wednesdays" for six weeks from January 23, 2013, to February 27, 2013. Each Wednesday during this promotion, commuters will receive validated parking at the station and a round-trip ticket for travel to Providence Station from Wickford.
"The expansion of commuter rail in Rhode Island is a key component in attracting business to our great state while providing existing businesses and employees a vital link to get to work," Governor Lincoln D. Chafee said. "We hope people take advantage of this promotion and, once they see how easy and convenient it is, consider making commuter rail part of their daily routine."
Travel between Wickford Junction and Providence will be free all day, however tickets for the free fares must be picked up each Wednesday during the promotional period before 3:30 p.m. Riders taking advantage of this promotion will receive both a ticket to Providence and a return ticket to be used with any train that is convenient.
Commuter rail service, provided by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, services features 20 stops per day at Wickford Junction Monday through Friday, with connecting service at T.F. Green Airport. The normal roundtrip fare from Wickford to Providence is $6.50 and parking at the station's garage costs $4 daily. All fare and schedule information is available on RIDOT's website at www.dot.ri.gov.
"For those uncomfortable driving on congested highways at rush hour, especially during snowy conditions, commuter rail is a perfect way to get where you need to go, and often at less cost than driving and parking in Providence," RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said. "We have seen ridership grow at both T.F. Green and Wickford Junction stations and expect that more and more commuters will consider taking the train to work."
Commuters interested in participating in Wickford Wintertime Wednesdays should visit the Wickford Junction website at www.wickfordjunction.com to download a registration form. Bring the form and your parking ticket after entering the garage to the registration table located on the second floor waiting area (platform level) to receive your free roundtrip ticket and validated parking. Those who are dropped off at the station, or who walk or ride their bike to Wickford Junction can also receive the free roundtrip fare to Providence.
The Wickford Junction Train Station and Garage was designed and built through a public/private partnership with RIDOT and the developers of the Wickford Junction shopping center. Centrally located on Route 102 in North Kingstown, the Station provides easy on-and-off access to Route 4.
The station boasts many features and amenities to make commuting via MBTA train affordable, enjoyable and hassle-free. Some of the features include a 1,100-space parking garage; an 848-foot platform with seating and covered areas to protect travelers in inclement weather; heated restrooms and indoor waiting area with seating; an in-station coffee and snack shop; charging stations for electric and hybrid vehicles; and covered bicycle storage. All MBTA trains also offer free wireless internet service.
Wickford Wintertime Wednesdays are funded by RIDOT through partnerships with Wickford Junction, MBTA and the R.I. Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) and its Commuter Resource R.I. program.
Directions to Wickford Junction Station 1011 Ten Rod Road, North Kingstown, R.I.
• From the South: Take Route 4 North to Exit 5 (Route 102). Turn right at the end of the ramp and follow Route 102 South about a half mile. The entrance to Wickford Junction is on the left.
• From the North: Take Route 4 South to Exit 5A (Route 102). Follow 0.8 of a mile to the station.