The Omaha Rapid Bus Transit system is a step closer to reality. On Thursday Metro Transit and City officials unveiled rolled out design plans for the route, which will run both directions on Dodge from the Westroads to downtown Omaha.
There will be 12 stations along the route and there will be level boarding, meaning the station platform is the same hight as the bus floor. Each station will have real-time arrival signage that will include information about the arrival of the next bus. There will also be off-board ticketing, no fare boxes.
Metro Executive Director Curt Simon says there will be ten buses for the express line and they will run every ten minutes during morning and afternoon rush hours.
Mayor Jean Stothers says ORBT is crucial for a growing city like Omaha. "It will connect riders to their jobs, schools, to medical centers, businesses and shopping." Stothert says having more people ride the buses will reduce traffic congestion and free up more parking spaces.
The 60 foot buses will be powered by compressed natural gas. Simon says another enhancement will be Traffic Signal Priority, which will allow traffic signals to stay green longer for approaching ORBT buses.
Construction of the stations will begin this fall and Metro officials expect to begin running in fall 2019. The price tag on the ORBT line is $30.5-million. It's being paid for with a $15 million grant and local money.