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ORBT begins service this month

Posted at 10:56 AM, Nov 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-02 11:56:40-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Metro Transit is rolling out ORBT later this month, providing an upgraded option for passengers stretching from downtown all the way to Westroads Mall.

It’s a project six years in the making.

“I think ORBT is really going to help elevate the ability for transit to continue to continue to move people throughout the city,” said Metro Transit CEO Lauren Cencic.

Omaha Rapid Bus Transit, or ORBT, is a new service from Metro Transit that will hit the streets on Nov. 18.

ORBT will replace route two, providing rides every 10 minutes on weekdays between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Cencic said ORBT will help Omaha’s transit network run more efficiently.

“The reason that that route was chosen is that it really is sort of the spine of the overall transit network. Not only is it our busiest or one of our busiest routes that we have, but it also intersects with nearly every route in our system,” she said.

East of 30th St, new bus lanes will prevent traffic slowdowns along some of the busiest streets in the city. To the west, ORBT vehicles will notify traffic signals to extend green lights, also reducing congestion.

ORBT brings more upgraded, spacious buses, new technology and enhanced stops and stations.

Metro Transit Community Relations Manager Jason Rose said it will be easy for passengers to navigate.

“We’ll have passenger arrival information at the stations so you don’t even have to know what a bus schedule looks like to be able to ride ORBT. You can go up, see when the next bus is coming, hear when the next bus is coming - we’re going to have some audio announcements - so it’s meant to provide a new transit experience for everyone on Dodge St,” said Rose.

Safety precautions will be in place for transit, including deep cleaning and sanitation of buses and mask requirements.

Eventually, Metro Transit hopes to expand ORBT.

“We’re also hoping in the future to extend farther west and farther east and make some north/south connections and build out a future...kind of a network of ORBT that can kind of connect to the rest of our metro service.”

Rides on ORBT will be fare-free until mid-March. After that, a ride on ORBT will cost $1.25. Metro buses are also offering free rides on Election Day.

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