OKLAHOMA CITY – Design work on Emark’s first bus rapid transit line, or BRT, is almost 95% complete, with construction scheduled to begin next year and service beginning in late 2023.
City officials predict that many more commuters will use public transit once the service becomes available.
BRT is often explained as a hybrid between a fixed route bus service and a light rail. Oklahoma City’s system, named Rapid, will operate with improved buses, a frequency of 15 minutes and fewer stops than current bus lines.
Embark officials released the logo and renderings showing a vehicle and a passenger platform at a meeting of the board of directors of the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority on Friday.
âEmbark’s vision is to provide world-class transportation to our region. Rapid is helping us move closer to that vision by creating connections where people can move more freely, âsaid Jason Ferbrache, Embark administrator.
“From our research and conversations with focus groups, it became extremely clear how committed the community is to supporting robust transit options that improve the accessibility of our neighborhoods, businesses and public spaces.” said Kym Koch-Thompson, director of Koch Comm, who created the branding strategy.
The initial route is the 9.5 mile northwest line that will run primarily along the Northwestern Highway and Classen Boulevard, dropping to less than half a mile of 91,000 jobs and 40,000 residents.
Additional lines are being considered. The city’s $ 1 billion MAPS 4 program includes $ 60 million for advanced transit options that could include express lines to southern Oklahoma City / Capitol Hill, the NE 23rd Street corridor, the neighborhood adventure and innovation district.
The long-term vision of the rapid transit system is to build bridges between communities in central Oklahoma.
Rapid will use nine 40-foot natural gas vehicles with upgraded seating and equipment, including Wi-Fi. Fifteen pairs of raised platform stops along the route will include ADA accessible boarding, real-time customer information, ticketing kiosk, security lighting, bike racks and branded pylons.
The pylons will make stops easy to spot and provide a route map on one side and a digital display on the other, said Michael Scroggins, director of marketing and technology at Embark.
âOur runners will only choose us if we are accessible to them,â said Scroggins. âOur biggest job is ahead of us. “
The Northwest line connects downtown to a ride-on parking lot located at the end of the line at Northwest Expressway and Meridian Avenue. Other potential incentive parking locations are at Northwest Expressway and Pennsylvania Avenue and at Embark’s Century Center parking garage on N Broadway Avenue and W. Main Street.
Riders can also walk or cycle to any of the boarding locations.
The total cost of the first route is expected to be nearly $ 28.9 million, with 50% coming from a grant from the United States Department of Transportation. The city’s counterpart comes from the 2017 General Bonds, the Better Street Safer City sales tax program, and the COTPA Trust funds.