Omaha’s Metro transit will continue offering free fares on the new ORBT line into early summer as it builds ridership.
The rapid bus transit line started in November at the height of the pandemic.
Though the Dodge Street line began at a difficult time, Metro CEO Lauren Cencic said in a statement that ORBT has seen tremendous ridership and support. She called it a bright spot during the pandemic.
Cencic said Metro wants to offer riders more opportunities to experience the high-quality transit line without needing to pay a fare.
So far, ORBT’s ridership count has surpassed ridership from the previous Dodge Street Route 2 line, according to Metro. The transit authority said ORBT ridership is on par with the previous Dodge Street route’s weekday ridership and 50% higher on weekends.
In total, ORBT has recorded more than 130,000 rides.
Still, the 1,200 weekday average is well below Metro’s pre-pandemic goal of 2,700 daily riders.
By summer, Metro plans to upgrade its overall payment system. That will include ticket machines at transit centers and ORBT stations, along with online payment options in a mobile app.