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Metro holding online meetings to help guide transit plans

Metro holding online meetings to help guide transit plans

Westbound ORBT route

Now is your chance to participate in Metro’s discussions over the future of public transit.

Metro has started a strategic planning effort that will gather public input throughout this year and prioritize public transit improvements in the Omaha area. Metro intends to create the MetroNEXT Plan, which will set a multi-year guide for the transit agency’s future.

The planning effort will begin Thursday with an online meeting scheduled for 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Links to the meeting will be at ometro.com/MetroNEXT.

Two other virtual meetings will follow on Saturday from 10 to 11 a.m. and Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m.

The planning effort comes as community interest is growing in major public transit improvements around metro Omaha.

The Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce is working on a related transportation plan called ConnectGO.

Cencic

Lauren Cencic

Last year, Metro hired a new chief executive, Lauren Cencic, who has expressed an interest in building on the community’s discussions. Cencic said Metro’s plans should be grounded in input from the public and stakeholders to the transit system.

One particular area of focus will be expansion of Metro’s ORBT rapid bus service.

Last November, Omaha started its first ORBT line down Dodge Street. Now, two big questions facing Metro: What line is next? And where will future lines go?

Metro says it also will look at adding new service types and expanding its service. Also on the table are more frequent routes and improvements to bus stops.

According to Metro, community feedback will guide the agency’s selection of future ORBT lines and corridors to serve with high frequency bus service.

The initial three meetings will offer the same information on trends and data, discuss the impact of COVID-19 and look at issues that could influence transit in the future. Virtual participants will have a chance to work on an activity to identify future ORBT lines.

Meeting recordings and summaries will be available later.

Metro also plans to solicit feedback through community surveys and participation exercises at ometro.com/MetroNEXT. The agency is taking input for this round through April 8.

Metro will have four rounds of meetings this year to delve deeper into possible improvements.


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