Greater City Providence

RIPTA to unveil new hybrid buses and trolley buses on October 4th

A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at Kennedy Plaza on Monday, October 4th at 11am to intriduce RIPTA’s new hybrid buses and hybrid trolley buses.

The new hybrid diesel Gillig buses and trolleys are powered by clean diesel hybrid electrical propulsion systems that reduce emissions, save fuel and are smoother and quieter than conventional buses. This not only reduces air pollution, but noise pollution as well, thus improving the environment for Rhode Islanders.

New Classic Hybrid Trolleys

The red and gold trolleys, which each seat approximately 30 passengers, will replace existing trolleys on the Gold and Green LINK lines in Providence. Each trolley, manufactured by Gillig Bus in partnership with Cable Car Classics, costs $696,959.50. Federal Transit Administration Grants funded the base cost of the trolley, while the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) covered the incremental cost of the Hybrid Propulsion System. A 20% local match was provided by State General Obligation Bonds. The trolley includes Gillig heavy-duty reliability and ADA accessibility wrapped up in the appeal of old fashioned trolley charm.

RIPTA trolleys in Providence serve Route 91 (Gold Line) six days a week and Route 92 (Green Line) seven days a week all year round.

New Gillig BRT Hybrid Buses

Photo from Mountain Metropolitan Transit

All fifty-three brand new 2010 Gillig BRT hybrid 40′ foot buses will have joined the RIPTA fleet by March 2011. The hybrid bus weighs 39,600 lbs and comfortably seats forty passengers. This model features many improvements including new stainless steel bike racks for easer bicycle loading, new soft seating, and improved KONI shock absorbers for a better ride. The bus’s engine, a new Cummins ISL 2007 EPA Emission engine, meets all current EPA requirements. In addition, the front doors can now load wheelchairs and the wheelchair ramp has been redesigned to reduce maintenance.

Funded by various Federal Transit Administration Grants, Rhode Island Bonds, and American Recovery & Reinvestment Act Grants, each 2010 Gillig BRT hybrid bus costs $625,085.

These new buses and trolleys are part of RIPTA’s normal fleet replacement plan to maintain their fleet in top condition. Replacement of CNG trolleys and diesel buses to a hybrid system will yield approximately a 20% savings on fuel for RIPTA.

The new buses and trolley buses will be joining the fleet in stages through March of next year.

Greater City Providence

Promoting the smart urban growth of the Greater Providence region.


  • You’ve got to pay for all that silly wood panelling. Why do we have to have “trolleys” anyway? Can’t they just purchase shorter buses for the city lines? It doesn’t make the areas served seem more historic….”Oh, that bus disguised as a trolley made me think I was in the early 2oth century.”

    Anyway, 53 hybrid buses is amazing. Do you know how many buses are currently in the RIPTA fleet?

  • RIPTA has a fleet of about 300 buses. Most are in the RIDE program.

    That said, I say scrap the current streetcar plan and instead build two lines. One east-west (to replace the trolleys) and one north-south. You’d serve the same proposed route between meds and eds and yet still not make it look like it only serves Brown University.

  • They really should just scrap the trolleys. I don’t know why they insist on spending extra money on them. I think the difference, though, is that there is less of a stigma to riding the trolley because it doesn’t look as “lower class” as it does riding the bus (which I don’t get anyway, but many people feel that way).

    I don’t understand the purpose of the RIDE program. That, to me, seems like a waste of money and resources. Why not do away with it and increase service on the regular bus routes or even add new bus routes?

    For example… those routes that go every other bus to one place (like the 26), why not have 2 routes or a separate smaller route that just goes between the secondary route and the primary route? Use a smaller bus and make sure they meet up. That makes more sense to me than having to wait for the next bus with the same route number because the route number going 2 different routes. That doesn’t make for easy-to-follow service.

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