Madeline Brush is a member of the Mode Shift Board of Directors.
I am legally blind, meaning I cannot drive a car. I depend on Metro Transit to get around Omaha. I usually take the #15, to go to Midtown Crossing. When I get to 32nd and Farnam, I get a coffee, or grab some Chinese food. It is unfortunate that the route frequency is only every 30 minutes — if it’s on schedule. Since I have limited vision, it is difficult for me to read the street signs. Public transportation is great and affordable, but I wish all the bus drivers would announce the numbered streets. Some of them do, especially if I tell them where I need to get off the bus. Sometimes they forget when it is a longer bus ride.
The second bus that I take often is the #2 on Dodge street. My mom and siblings live near the route, so it is easy for me to catch the bus downtown and get off at UNO. From there I can walk to see my family. I know to request a stop when I see the
the green pedestrian bridge near UNO. I go to Dundee often. I can get off at 50th and Dodge and walk to my favorite businesses.
I am excited for ORBT, Metro’s Bus Rapid Transit or the BRT. I will be able to pay with my smartphone, and the new buses will have an automatic audible announcement the upcoming stops.
I have heard from a few bus riders that their bus is not dependable. I tell them to call or email Metro — they want to hear from the public if the service isn’t working. Metro is making improvements to the system with new bus shelters and buses and more technology to connect passengers. As someone who depends on the bus, I am grateful Omaha is investing in public transportation.
Don’t wait. There are apps on the smartphone that can announce your location to you when you can’t see the screen (and some that read street signs to you too!) Contact Lisa at Outlook Nebraska for more info!
I’ve noticed the past few weeks that many of the buses I ride have new digital sign boards installed over the old STOP REQUESTED signs. The new sign boards just display the date and time plus Stop Requested if someone pulls the cord. When the software is installed early next year, I understand the sign boards will display the name of the next stop. Hopefully, the new system will also include verbal announcements for passengers who can’t read the sign boards. Unfortunately, a lot of passengers don’t own smart phones.