Metro Transit officials give a first look at new ORBT buses

Published: Nov. 17, 2020 at 5:43 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Omaha’s Mayor Jean Stothert joined Metro Transit Officials to help unveil the city’s new rapid transit buses. They held a ribbon-cutting Tuesday morning.

“Many cities have already gone to some sort of a bus rapid transit system. And I think it’s time for Omaha to do the same thing," The Mayor said.

The ORBT buses will run along portions of dodge street. Metro Transit officials hope the new 60-foot vehicles will offer riders a better experience with public transportation.

“We have the bike racks where it can hold 6 bikes at any time. People can actually just bring it in through the rear door," Metro’s CEO, Lauren Cencic explained.

The buses also have wifi and elevated platforms for quicker loading and unloading.

Transit officials said the improvements start before riders even get on the bus.

“You can stand on a station and see real-time arrival. Purchase your ticket prior to the bus arriving. Not necessarily having to memorize a schedule," Metro’s Board President, Jay Lund, explained.

Officials also said that new bus lanes and signals at intersections should mean passengers will not have to wait more than 10 minutes for a ride.

“We are really trying to make sure the buses can keep moving and not get caught at red lights," Cencic added.

The buses are being introduced to the city in the middle of a pandemic. Masks are required, and buses are cleaned every night. Some routes will be cleaned more often than that.

“So in the middle of the day, we’ll bring the buses back. Fog them and bring them back out with a new bus," Cencic said.

The use of public transportation has gone down since the beginning of the pandemic in March. City officials hope more people see the ORBT buses as another safe and convenient way to navigate the city.

“We want to offer more, other, modern options for people to move around and get from their homes to work and back home again," Stothert added.

Rides on the ORBT buses will be free for the first four months. The buses begin running Wednesday, Nov. 18.

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