OKLAHOMA CITY – Officials with EMBARK, the Federal Transit Administration, and the City of Oklahoma City today marked the launch of RAPID – the region's first bus rapid transit service – with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and celebration.
The ceremony took place at the intersection of NW 18th Street and Classen, which is one platform stop for RAPID NW. The event included remarks from EMBARK and City officials, Mayor David Holt, COTPA Chair Bernard Semtner III, FTA Region VI Administrator Gail Lyssy, and OKC City Councilmembers James Cooper (Ward 2) and JoBeth Hamon (Ward 6).
"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. We invite all to give it a try, and I’ll see you on the RAPID!”
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 OKC to Classen Boulevard and Northwest Expressway to Meridian.
The NW 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 NW 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, over 20% of the region's employment base is estimated to be within a half-mile of this new transit service.
The RAPID NW line launches with fare-free service through Dec. 31.
"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.”
Bus Rapid Transit (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 NW in June 2022.
The construction of the $28.9 million RAPID NW 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.
EMBARK is the business unit of the Central Oklahoma Transportation & Parking Authority (COTPA) – a public trust administered by the City of Oklahoma City.
EMBARK's vision is to be world-class transportation that is accessible to all, and all want to access it. EMBARK's mission is to be a self-sustaining transportation network that removes barriers of location and socioeconomic status, while elevating the status and use of public transportation so all of central Oklahoma can safely and quickly reach their destination.
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