Metro Transit Unveils Design Of New City Buses

A new bus system is coming to Omaha next year. 

On Wednesday, Metro Transit Executive Director Curt Simon announced that the new rapid bus system will be called Omaha Rapid Bus Transit, or ORBT. “ORBT is short, rapid and memorable, and embodies the forward momentum this project will bring for both Metro Transit and the city of Omaha.”

The first ORBT line will run on Dodge Street and is expected to begin in late 2018. The Dodge line will be the first of its kind in Omaha and will offer connections to other major transit arteries in the city. 

Simon says the new line will expedite travel for commuters. "It should make for a faster commute. It will cut down the travel time from the Westroads to Downtown down to about 26 minutes, to the extent that we can kind of compete with the private automobile, that's kind what it's trying to do. It functions, as best it can, like rail. It has level platform boarding stations, it has off-board ticketing, so there's no standing in line waiting at the fare box, it speeds the bus system up."

He also says less stops will also help speed up the commute. "Typically the station stops are spread farther apart than your standard transit stops are. The stations will be very upscale, they'll have real time countdowns of when the next bus is gonna be arriving."

Simon says another feature that will speed up travel transit signal priority. "If the vehicle is approaching an intersection it will send a signal to the traffic signal head and maybe it will hold that green ten seconds longer to allow the bus to get through the intersection." 

ORBT will be the most significant transit investment in Omaha in over 40 years, with a projected cost of $30.5 million, which will be funded by grants and private donors. 

For more information about ORBT you can visit their website here.

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