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Omaha at Human Scale: Transit dependence requires dependable transit

11 Dec
Interior of a Metro Bus

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.

Madeline

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.

Route 2 to Westroads

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.

The ORBT Is Coming

19 Apr

BRT_website-1024x538

The Omaha Rapid Bus Transit (ORBT) team has been quiet as they wait for various approvals before communicating news of their design and schedule.

From all the early reports, we have cause to celebrate: not only did the ORBT team have the foresight to secure a federal grant, they also dealt with complex issues to deliver a significant improvement to Omaha’s transit network.

It Wasn’t Raining When Noah Built the Ark

Omaha is fortunate to have a Metro Transit team with the foresight to plan ahead. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) implementations can fall into two broad categories:
BRT Implementations

Rather than wait until Omaha’s congestion floods the streets as in other major cities, the team secured in January 2015 a $15 million federal grant to implement Omaha’s BRT – which is now known as the ORBT. Continue reading

Update on the BRT Progress

21 Apr

We haven’t talked much about the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) as of late, so we thought it might be time for a quick update. We’re still heavily involved in the BRT Stakeholder Committee with two members from Mode Shift serving on the committee (including the chair of the committee), which gives us an opportunity to stay abreast of the project’s status.

Metro held two open houses nearly a year ago (June 2016) during which attendees were able to ask questions, offer input, and tour a 60’ articulated bus (the type Metro will use for the BRT). Attendance was great, excitement was high, and Metro received some great feedback. If you missed the meeting, here are the materials that were presented.

One of the great outcomes of that process was the establishment of the values of the BRT system. They are:

  1. Reliable
  2. Convenient
  3. Rapid
  4. User-friendly

Continue reading