ORBT to begin construction of new rapid bus transit system by end of month

Posted at 6:55 AM, Aug 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-20 07:55:39-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - — Traveling from one side of the city to the other should get easier thanks to the new rapid bus transit system.

Leaders at ORBT tell us the goal is to make travel more efficient for travelers.

The 8-mile route will take riders from the Westroads transit station all the way Downtown.

It'll feature 24 stations, each having a platform and canopy.

The buses will travel every 10 minutes on weekdays, and every 20 minutes in the evenings.

"It'll be much more frequent arrivals," Metro Outreach Coordinator Jason Rose said. "The boarding process is going to be a lot easier--the trips going to be a lot faster and we're hoping it'll provide an enhanced experience for our riders."

Rose says the company wants to make travel easier and more frequent.

The company also tells us, ORBT is one of the biggest transit investments the city has seen in decades.

"Right now we stop every 3 or 4 blocks depending on where we are in the city," Rose said. So now we're kind of hitting major destinations along Dodge and Douglas, we have 12 stops eastbound and 12 stops westbound."

Groundbreaking should start in the next few weeks, weather permitting.

"We'll have three crews working along the corridor from West to East," Rose said. "They'll be working on the stations that are on the north side of the road ... so all along Dodge heading east to Downtown ... where they're going to turnaround and then work back on the south side of Douglas, and then up to the south side of Dodge."

And for those looking to get to a specific area, ORBT says its buses will intersect with essentially every other bus route offered.

Rose says they hope to transform public transportation in Omaha through perks like, pre-paid boarding for faster travel, wifi on board, enhanced technology and added space.

"We're trying to attract new riders, we're trying to enhance the experience for our current riders ... and eventually kind of grow our system in a way that's more frequent for even the rest of our buses."

The final project is expected to be complete by the end of spring 2020.