Omaha introduced new buses on Nov. 18. The project is called Omaha Rapid Bus Transit, or ORBT for short. ORBT buses run along Dodge street from downtown to Westroads. There are 27 stops on the line, which replaces Metro Route 2.
There’s a lot that makes ORBT different from what we’re used to seeing in Omaha. The biggest visual difference is that the buses are articulated. This means that ORBT buses have a pivoting joint in the middle that connects its two rigid halves. The new feature makes ORBT much longer than a typical Metro bus, and it allows for increased capacity.
Another factor that’s been altered is the bus stops. There are now raised platforms at 23 stops. One purpose of the platforms is to make entry and exit from the buses zero-level. This makes ORBT more accessible to people in wheelchairs and lets riders bring their bikes on board.
Riders will be able to buy tickets from machines at the platforms. However, for the first four months, the bus rides will be free to the public. After that, the fare will be the same as a regular Metro bus.
During weekdays, ORBT buses are supposed to arrive every ten minutes. There is an electronic sign at some stops that displays how long until the next bus comes.
One of the biggest deterrents people have from taking the bus is the added time it takes. But ORBT is trying to combat this by using technology that reduces ride-time. The buses will have some control of traffic lights, which will allow them to move though intersections faster.
Many Central students rely on the city bus to get to and from school. The favorite part of ORBT among students seems to be the free WiFi and quick arrival times.
“I like ORBT a lot better than the Metro buses. It’s much faster getting home and they’re more environmentally friendly,” said sophomore Zoey Mullins.