Greater City Providence

RFP for new trolley shelter at Roger Williams Park Zoo

Photo of new baby giraffe at Roger Williams Park Zoo from the Zoo’s Facebook page.

RIPTA and the Roger Williams Park Zoo have teamed up to release an RFP for a new trolley shelter at the Zoo:

Roger Williams Park Zoo is partnering with the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority to create a unique and original bus shelter design to be located at the Zoo entrance.

The Bus Shelter Project will enhance the experience of those traveling to and from the Zoo by providing seating and shelter from the weather while introducing unique design elements to the streetscape environment.

  • Access the full RFP online [.pdf]; see pages 79-81 for the scope of work.
  • Deadline to submit proposals: August 5, 2010.
  • Contact Brooks Almonte with questions about this opportunity.

“But wait! There’s no trolley to the Zoo!” you say.

From the RFP:

In 2011, the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) will begin serving the Zoo entrance with a new fleet of trolleys. The trolley route will connect downtown Providence to the zoo via the hospital district and the south side neighborhood. Roger Williams Park Zoo is partnering with the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority to create a unique and original bus shelter design to be located at the Zoo entrance. The intent of this project is to create a favorite piece of art while enhancing the experience of the transit user. It is expected that the design of this shelter will make it a showpiece for the Zoo, for RIPTA, and for the state of Rhode Island.

Yes, this is news to me too, but I love it, and have asked RIPTA for some more info on it, which I will post when I recieve it.

In fact I love it so much, I direct you to this comment I made on another post where I drew a route for a potential Zoo Shuttle. Not saying anyone stole my idea (in fact I talked to some people at RIPTA after drawing that, and they said they were trying to make something like it happen (so I guess this isn’t really the first I’m hearing of it)), just saying it is an idea I really like.

Jef Nickerson

Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.


  • The RFP is almost 100 pages long, so I did not read the whole thing, but there is a portion that states that they will give special consideration (or prefer, or something, can’t remember the exact wording) to shelters that incorporate zoo animals in the design, and they listed a whole bunch of animals.

  • Amazing how this money pops out of the woodwork and yet there are those of us who will face an increased fare and reduced route coverage. AND there are those still riding for free via the corrupt school ride program riding anywhere BUT to school. And lets speak of the inefficient RIDE program that privately chauffeurs those with a doctor’s note anywhere they want in the state. Why can’t these people be inconvenienced like the rest of us and ride the regularly scheduled bus routes? Have you ever seen more than one person on a RIDE bus at a time? Rarely. Sick of RIPTA’s continual crying when it is so poorly mismanaged.

  • The fare increases are a result of the state not properly funding the transit agency. I’m not positive where the money is coming from for this RFP, but I’m willing to assume it is federal money (I would bet on it).

    RIPTA gets federal money which is restricted to capital projects, buying buses, building trolley shelters, etc. Federal money cannot be used for operations, paying salaries, buying fuel, etc. So RIPTA is in this awkward position of having federal funds to do things like buy equipment and build shelters, but doesn’t have enough state money to actually run the system.

    There is a proposal in Congress to give transit agencies a one time bailout of funds that can be used for operations. If that passes, and RIPTA gets enough of those funds, it is possible that the fare increase and service cuts could be rolled back. But the state still needs to do something to make RIPTA’s budget sustainable over the long term.

    I don’t know why you label the school ride program as corrupt, feel free to expand upon that. The program for colleges does not result in students, staff, or faculty riding free. The institutions pay RIPTA for these rides, and they were never meant to be restricted to trips to school only. It should also be noted that the college ridership programs are operated by Commuter Resources, which is chiefly federally funded. So the staffing for the program is federal, the money collected from the schools goes to RIPTA.

    Perhaps you are speaking of high schoolers, I must admit, I have no idea how programs for high schoolers on RIPTA work, or if there even is such a program.

    The RIde program is also chiefly federally funded, through Medicare. The passengers do not pay out of pocket, but RIPTA gets a Medicare reimbursement for each ride. It is not available to anyone with a doctors note, I could not get a doctors note and call a RIde van.

    And no, I have never seen more than one person on a RIde van, you can blame the feds for that. RIPTA would be happy to make the RIde program more efficient by having people in the same geographic areas schedule their appointments at the same time, so they can be transported together, but the Medicare reimbursement only allows one person per van per ride. RIPTA would not get the reimbursement if they took more than one person. Stupid, huh? But not RIPTA’s stupidity.

    All programs wherein someone seemingly rides for “free,” colleges, RIde, seniors, RIteCare, the disabled, all those rides, RIPTA gets reimbursed from someone for them. There are plenty of people through various programs who do not themselves have to pay out of pocket for their ride, but there is no one for whom RIPTA allows to ride without getting money from someone somewhere for the ride. RIPTA gives no free rides.

    I would be sick of RIPTA’s crying too if it were poorly managed. But no one who ever complains about it’s poor management ever gives any examples of such. Can you point out how RIPTA is poorly managed? If indeed it is, we should be insisting that those poor management practices are changed. But I cannot advocate for that until someone tells me what is broken.

  • I must agree. I’ve worked a little closer with RIPTA than I had in the past and I’d like to point out that these are hard working folks who have been pressed to stretch every penny. Many here might be surprised to know RIPTA knows, shares, and wants to address many of the “issues” and ideas that are raised, but simply isn’t funded properly to do so (or can’t get the money in a timely manner). They have some great plans to implement some great things, but as mentioned, don’t have the funds to take care of basic things at times.

  • I would like to see the Zoo add a second entrance on Elmwood Ave, and enhance the bus stop thats already there. Then some day this could be the end of a Streetcar line.
    Although maybe a trolley bus with stops at the other parts of the park would enhance the whole park.

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