The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) took delivery of the first of more than two dozen buses designed to be used on the Provo/Orem bus rapid transit (BRT) route. UTA will eventually have 25 such buses, with 18 of them on the road and in use at one time.
Project partner agencies include the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), Mountainland Association of Governments (MAG); and Provo, Orem, and Utah counties.
BRT in Utah County is part of the Provo/Orem Transportation Improvement Project or TRIP, a road, transit, bicycle, and pedestrian improvement project designed to meet growing transportation needs in Orem and Provo.
The New Flyer Xcelsior 60-foot articulated bus is the first to be delivered and will now go through a thorough testing process. The bus is powered by a clean-air diesel-electric hybrid motor and can hold up to 80 passengers. It features ground level-boarding for ADA passengers and six-minute frequency at peak travel times.
The buses will operate at a six-minute frequency during peak travel times. Doorways on both sides of the bus will accommodate side and center stations and there will be bike racks and room for more bikes on interior of bus.
When finished, the 10.5-mile BRT line will run past 18 stops from the Orem FrontRunner Station and down University Parkway in Orem, past Utah Valley University (UVU) and BYU campuses, along University Avenue in Provo, to the Provo FrontRunner station, and to the East Bay Technology Park. Approximately 50% of the line is in exclusive bus-only lanes.
Construction on the project is approximately 30% finished and is expected to be complete by next fall. The BRT project is funded for $150 million, including a federal grant.
The BRT service will help with air quality in Utah County as its hybrid electric/clean diesel buses will replace older model diesel buses on route 830. A recent U.S. Clean Air Task Force demonstrated that these new buses reduce air pollutants by 90% to 98% as compared to the older diesel buses.
Also, increased ridership along the BRT route will take less efficient private vehicles off the road, particularly for students who often drive older private vehicles. It will be possible for a student to attend BYU or UVU and not need to drive a car to and from school and work. The Environment Assessment for the Provo Orem BRT forecasted that the project would reduce vehicle miles traveled in Utah County by five million per year.