On Dec. 4, officials with EMBARK, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the city of Oklahoma City, Okla., cut the ribbon on RAPID – the region's first bus rapid transit (BRT) service.
"The launch of RAPID NW continues the methodical progress we have been making toward better public transit options for our residents,” said Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt. “The RAPID NW provides a new amenity that 40,000 residents can walk to, knowing that within 12-15 minutes, a comfortable bus will arrive to take them to their destination, without having to navigate traffic or park. Along this route are workplaces, shopping, major medical facilities and entertainment. This could be a life-changing amenity for the residents along this line, especially those who haven’t been users of our public transit system in the past.”
Operated by EMBARK, the first RAPID line has 32 platform stops, stretches 9.5 miles each way and integrates into the more extensive EMBARK transit network. The route connects downtown Oklahoma City to Classen Boulevard and Northwest Expressway to Meridian.
The Northwest line uses a fleet of nine 40-foot clean-natural gas vehicles and will operate 365 days a year, with service at each platform stop every 12-15 minutes during peak service. RAPID vehicles are equipped with luxury seating and amenities that provide an elevated rider experience – all while using advanced technology and service models.
RAPID Northwest travels through one of the region’s most job-dense and high-traffic corridors. With nearly 40,000 residents and 91,000 jobs along the RAPID Northwest line, more than 20 percent of the region's employment base is estimated to be within a half-mile of the new transit service.
The RAPID Northwest line will feature fare-free service through the end of 2023.
"Public transportation in Oklahoma City today takes a major leap forward in its accessibility and ability to provide a sustainable future for residents and visitors of the central Oklahoma region,” said Gail Lyssy, FTA Region 6 Administrator. “I’m honored to be a part of this celebration and I commend EMBARK, the city of Oklahoma City and the many people who had a role in making this RAPID NW a reality for thousands of future transit riders.”
BRT was first identified as a viable public transit option in the 2005 Fixed Guideway Plan, followed by a concept plan in 2016, with a preliminary design for the first line completed in 2020. Oklahoma City-based Rudy Construction was awarded the construction contract and work began on the RAPID Northwest in June 2022.
The construction of the $28.9 million RAPID Northwest Line is funded in part by the city of Oklahoma City, Central Oklahoma Transportation & Parking Authority and the U.S. Department of Transportation. Two additional RAPID lines are in design as part of the voter-approved MAPS 4 Transit Project.