Getting Around: MAT again delays start of its new bus route system
BY MICHAEL O'CONNOR
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER Â
People waiting for Metro Area Transit to roll out its new bus route system will have to wait a little longer.
MAT again has delayed the start of a bus plan designed to provide quicker travel and better neighborhood service.
MAT had hoped to start it in early June and then pushed the date to late summer.
Now the start will likely be October, said Curt Simon, MAT's executive director.
MAT has had trouble securing locations for some new bus stops, particularly in the Benson Park area and an area near 24th and Farnam Streets.
Simon said MAT wants to make sure the locations are settled before launching the new system.
"We want to make sure we do it right," he said. "We could rush to do it, but we want to make sure the product we deliver to the public is good and they can rely on it."
MAT wants to attract new riders, he said, and the convenience of the new system should help draw them.
The new system will use 10 neighborhood hubs. Buses will travel in neighborhoods and feed riders to the hubs.
The plan will alter routes that in some cases have been in place for more than 50 years.
Those routes generally send buses to and from downtown. The new system recognizes that Omaha's commuting patterns have changed and that workers now head in all directions across the city.
Simon said that next month MAT will take the final routes and other details of the plan to the public for review.
The plan could be adjusted based on public comments, he said.
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