PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) is pressing on with its plan to construct a brand new downtown transit center.

RIPTA’s Board of Directors voted unanimously Wednesday to team up with Next Wave Rhode Island Partners to design and construct the so-called bus hub, which would be located at the intersection of Dorrance and Dyer streets.

“Developing a new downtown transit center will significantly improve the public transit experience for RIPTA riders, while creating more opportunities for mixed-use development downtown,” Gov. Dan McKee said.

The new transit center will eventually serve as RIPTA’s central bus depot. The goal of the new bus hub is to centralize RIPTA’s operations in the city and encourage the use of public transit.

(Courtesy: RIPTA)

“With smart investments, Rhode Island’s transit system can expand and modernize to
meet the needs of our workforce and climate goals,” RIPTA CEO Scott Avedisian said. “A new downtown transit center is a major step in strengthening our transit system and expanding opportunities through transit-oriented development.”

“RIPTA riders deserve more than what our current transit center at Kennedy Plaza can offer,” he added. “Next Wave Partners shares our vision for bringing state-of-the-art amenities to downtown. Together, we look forward to engaging the community in the design and planning process.”

The new transit center will feature a temperature-controlled passenger arrival and seating space, according to RIPTA. It will also offer accommodations for bicyclists, as well as ground-level retail space and housing on the upper floors.

RIPTA said Kennedy Plaza will be used for a reduced number of bus routes once the new transit center is fully operational.

The new bus hub is being supported by a bond referendum to improve RIPTA’s transit services.

The next step is to complete a site assessment and nail down financing and construction. RIPTA also plans to launch a “robust” public comment period for input on design specifics.