Sponsored - New buses, up-to-date shelters, and modern technology are just a few of the system upgrades launched by Metro Transit in 2018 and early 2019.
“2018 and 2019 will be big years in Omaha for transit,” said Curt Simon, executive director of Metro. “We’re very excited to elevate our system with lots of enhancements.”
Some of these upcoming enhancements include:
- Buses: by early 2019, 38 buses with an average of 20 years will have been replaced with new ones. The new buses will improve system reliability, be far more comfortable and contribute to a reduction in harmful emissions with 24 (63%) of the buses powered by mini-hybrid clean diesel and 14 (37%) using compressed natural gas (CNG). The procurement takes Metro’s revenue fleet from one of the oldest in the nation to one of the newest.
- Paratransit vans: replaced during the summer nine (9) Moby vans powered by CNG.
Passenger Waiting Shelters – replaced 50 outdated shelters with a more durable, solar- lighted model.
GPS Fleet Technology: by late December, passengers will know exactly where their transit vehicle is. The GPS-based system tracks the fleet’s location in real-time with public access to the information via an online app, text message, or by calling customer service.
- Digital Signs at transit centers will update bus arrivals in real time.
- Internal testing begin is in process; public posting by first quarter 2019.
Wi-Fi – Free onboard Wi-Fi installed October 2018.
CNG Fuel Station: To optimize efficiency, Metro is partnering with Creighton University, the Metropolitan Utilities District and City of Omaha for the installation of a public use CNG fueling station, with a dedicated extension to the Metro facility. The facility will be operational first quarter 2019.
Enhanced wayfinding – Metro’s partnered with the Metropolitan Area Planning Agency (MAPA) to encourage multi-modal travel with the installation of informational wayfinding signs at trail intersections. The signs, purchased with a MAPA grant, identify where bus routes connect with the Omaha trail system. Installation is scheduled for Spring 2019.
Rapid Transit – ORBT, Metro’s first rapid transit service’s construction begins Spring 2019; with operation scheduled for Winter 2019.
The road to a more robust transit system is long and complex, and these projects are no exception. “This won’t happen overnight, but the public has seen steady changes during 2018 as we build up our system,” Simon said.
The end result will be an updated, modern transportation network for Omaha and the region, which has expressed desires for enhancements in the system.
“We want to thank the public for their patience as we make these changes,” Simon said. “We know it hasn’t been easy the last few years with our aging fleet and shortage of staff. New equipment, new technology, and new processes will help us connect our community in a way that will result in greater reliability and better information for everyone. This will be a totally new transit experience for our riders.”
Metro operates fixed, express and ADA paratransit public transit services within the City of Omaha, Nebraska, and contracted service for five contiguous jurisdictions.