2006-07-20 / Editorial

No car? You can still go far

By Michaela Kennedy

"I would be stuck without my car. I could walk down the street and that would be it," said an anonymous 88-year old island resident.

Living in Jamestown without a vehicle may seem prohibitive for some. But for others, having no car means freedom from financial or environmental worries. With summer in full swing, locals and visitors alike are becoming more creative in their modes of travel, and East Ferry is the hub where many journeys begin.

In front of Veterans Memorial Square at the East Ferry waterfront is the main bus stop for Jamestown. A ride east on any local bus will take travelers on a scenic tour over the Newport Bridge to connect with the Newport Gateway Center. Travel west on the same route for shopping in Wakefield or cross-country hookups in Kingston at the Amtrak train station.

Not bad for a $1.50 ticket.

Summer-season transportation service by the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority is available from the Newport Gateway Center. Ferries, downtown trolleys, and beach express busses around Aquidneck Island, tickets and more information can all be found at the center.

From the Gateway, beach service bus number 61 travels along Memorial Drive to Sachuest Beach, or Second Beach, as the locals fondly call it.

The same bus will take you as far as Fort Adams. Bus route 67, trolley service on the Yellow Line to the mansions, tours by the mansions, Bellevue Avenue shopping, and the Cliff Walk, to name only a few dazzling sites.

How enjoyable - a beach, sightseeing, and shopping day conveniently carried out through public transportation, with extra time to enjoy the view of the coast, not the road. An all-day adult pass costs $6, and for a group of four the cost is $18.

Looking to travel farther than Newport? The Bonanza bus terminal is also at the gateway center, ready to whisk you off to Boston or some other major destination.

The Newport-Providence ferry runs daily from Perrotti Park, a short walk from the gateway center. OK, so the trip one way takes an hour and a half, but how much time and gas would you spend driving up to the city, looking and paying for a parking place? After an afternoon or evening out in Providence using the city trolleys, the scenic ferry ride back home makes a nice designated driver.

A round-trip adult fare on the ferry to the Renaissance City cost $16. For reservations, call 4536800 or reserve seats online at www.nefastferry.com.

People are realizing that's the way to go," says Brian Moore about public transportion. Moore captains the Jamestown-Newport Ferry at the East Ferry marina on Mondays. He pointed to a man walking up the dock's ramp as a perfect example. The ferry passenger had boarded at Perrotti Park in Newport and gotten off at East Ferry. "He just returned from Boston by bus and took the ferry home," Moore said.

Jeff Lester is the first mate on the Jamestown-Newport Ferry. "The most popular destination is Bowen's Wharf, and of course people coming to Jamestown to visit from Newport," he said about passengers on the boat.

Moore agreed, saying that they had just dropped off a family at Rose Island for an afternoon picnic. Many passengers make connections with the Block Island and Newport/Providence ferries at Fort Adams and Perrotti Park, and all of the ferries accommodate bicycles and wheelchairs.

"A lot of people were happy to have the ferry for the U.S. (women's) golf open. It was a huge success. People took the shuttle from Fort Adams to the front door of the open. They didn't have to walk or worry about parking a car," Lester said.

An all-day ferry pass costs $15.

For even more convenience, local taxi, limousine, and airportshuttle companies that service the island can be found in the local yellow pages.

If you want the world to come to you, pull out the telephone book and find stores that deliver. In this day and age, no one need be limited by lack of a vehicle.

On Ozone Alert days, RIPTA offers free rides on its regular bus and trolley routes. According to the RIPTA Web site, on some days, usually during the summer, ozone levels reach heights that are unhealthy and unsafe. The state Department of Environmental Management offers daily air quality forecasts on its Web site at www.dem.ri.gov.

Bus rides to the beaches and harbor cruises in Narragansett Bay are appealing options for travel to and from Jamestown.

For more information on the Jamestown-Newport Ferry service, call 423-9900 or visit its Web site at www.conanicutmarine.com.

For more details on public transportation services, call 7819400 or visit online www.ripta.com.

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