OKC Prepares To Cut The Ribbon On New Rapid Transit Line

The new Rapid Bus Transit line begins service on Sunday, and News 9's Colby Thelen went on a ride-along to see how EMBARK is preparing for the launch.

Thursday, November 30th 2023, 5:29 pm

By: News 9, Colby Thelen


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On Monday Oklahoma City leaders will cut the ribbon on the brand new Bus Rapid Transit line.

The new system connects Lake Hefner to Downtown. That means change is soon arriving for the city’s public transportation. “I think it’s transformative,” says EMBARK Administrator, Jason Ferbrache.

That transformation does take a little practice. That’s why buses on the street currently drive without passengers. “We want to make sure we have thoroughly tested the system,” says Ferbrache. The testing began 30 days prior to the launch.

 It helps operators get used to traveling with other cars, and the other way around. “High-capacity, high-frequency public transportation,” Ferbrache says. “Serving one of the most densely populated and areas of our city with the most employment.”

 The buses run from Lake Hefner to Downtown OKC in 45 minutes.

 They’re able to do so with 51% of the route using a dedicated bus lane. Some intersections also have a dedicated light. “It may appear the bus is running a red light when they’re using their own signal,” says Ferbrache.

 It’s all meant to get the buses to each elevated platform every 12 minutes. EMBARK says the goal is to make the trip times competitive with that of a car – just without the driving. At $600,000, the natural gas vehicles are an investment - as is the infrastructure built for them.

 Investment that brings a level of permanency. “That’s good for economic development and that’s good for our customers because they know this is going to be here to stay,” says Ferbrache.

 Here to stay for those on the move. It’s a departure from the normal commute. Revenue service will begin on December 3rd. The ribbon cutting will follow on the 4th.

 All rides through the month of December will be free of charge.

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