A look at Omaha Metro’s buses

Omaha Metro (O-Metro as its sometimes known as) was rebranded from MAT during the Summer of 2010 is Omaha Nebraska’s transit system. It operates 34 different local and express routes in two states (Iowa and Nebraska). The bus fleet offers quite a bit of variety for a bus fanatic. The 1993 and 1994 Flxible Metros are still chugging along at the ripe old age of 25 and 24 years respectively, though they are pretty much on their last legs with 11 new New Flyers XN35 being delivered to Metro. The Flxibles went through a complete overhaul in 2008-09 where pretty much every single part of the bus was overhauled or replaced. The maintenance shop did a great job in making use of Gillig parts and fabricating new parts for the rebuilds. The Flxibles are nothing like what they looked like before the rebuild, and became as some called it Franken-Flexs because of the oddity they became after the transformation.

Here are a few pictures of the Flxible Metros still remaining. Note the 1993 Metros are 40ft. and the 1994 Metros are 35ft. Here we see 9301 and 9306 out and about and still running strong as seen on routes 13 and 15.

The 1994 Flxibles too are also on their last legs and are the oldest buses in the fleet when considering the rebuild. There were originally 26 ordered new and only 24 of them were rebuilt back in 2008, now less than 10 remain in service as of June 2018. Pictured here are 9401 and 9407. 9401 is on its way back to the garage after finishing its morning rush hour express run, while  9407 is running on the 16 to the North Omaha transit center and another day its on the 24 Crosstown 24th St, but with a broken destination sign.

Meanwhile, Metro’s 40ft. 1998 Gillig Phantoms are still a dime a dozen, but the used Phantoms from Jefferson Parish are long gone. Here we see 9814 heading into downtown Omaha and 9809 on an express run during the afternoon rush.

 

Metro also has purchased a number of Gillig Low Floors over the years beginning in 2000. Most of the orders during 2001-2018 have been for 35ft. buses. As seen most the Low Floors are 35ft heading to Bergen Mercy and entering the Westroads Mall transit center, but Metro does have several 40ft. Gillig Low Floors.

Metro didn’t buy new buses for almost a decade, during which they rebuilt the Flxible Metros. However, that all changed in 2009 when Metro purchased 8 Gillig Low Floor 40ft. buses (9001-9008), which are the agency’s only EPA-2007 buses. Then in 2010 Metro purchased 24 new Gillig Low Floors EPA-2010 buses of the 1000 series, splitted between a dozen each of 35ft. (1013-1024) and 40ft. (1001-1012).

In 2011, Metro then turned to New Flyer for its next batch of 9 buses with the addition of 4 D35LFR (1101-1104) and 5 D40LFR (1105-1109). As seen here are 1101 and 1105 in downtown Omaha.

Again Metro turned to New Flyer for new buses, but this time the Xcelsior with 2013 being the year the first one enters service in Omaha. All 17 new XD35 are numbered (1301-1308) and (1401-1410).


The agency hasn’t bought any new fixed route buses for about 3 years, but later in 2018 11 new XN35s are expected to be delivered and these 35ft. CNG buses are finally replacing the remaining 1993-94 Franken-Flexs still in service. While another order promised are several CNG artics that are intended for the OBRT BRT line are overdue and should be delivered when that BRT route is fully functional.

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