New Weber State shuttle is just the first in expanded transit in Ogden
Hundreds of Weber State students lined up on Aug. 29, the first day of school and the first day of shuttle operation, to use the new Ogden Express Wildcat Shuttle.
With six free-to-ride, all-electric buses arriving every 10 minutes from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., many students were eager to take the shuttle. Weber State University has even made parking free at the Dee Events Center to encourage everyone to use public transportation.
“They just make it really convenient,” said Isaac Eck, a junior student at Weber State.
The bus rapid transit system, also known as OGX, is meant to combine the capacity and speed of light rail with the lower construction costs of an integrated bus system because it will create dedicated bus lanes not open to other traffic.
The old shuttle traveled between the Stewart Library and the Dee Events Center. Eck said it cut through residential streets and the buses were too small.
“It kind of felt like you were packed in like sardines in there,” Eck said.
The new buses for the OGX line are a lot bigger. Eck has been riding the new OGX shuttle throughout the week and said his experience has been overwhelmingly positive. He said the buses even have that “new car smell.”
“It’s just something I don’t really have to stress about, like getting to campus or having to walk in 100 degree heat or snow or rain,” Eck said. “It’s really easy.”
The route goes from the Dee Events Center to Central Station, in the middle of Weber State’s campus.
The opening of OGX marks the halfway point for the construction of Ogden’s bus rapid transit system. The east side of Harrison Blvd must be widened, and dedicated bus lanes must be created in the center of the street. Road work at the station by McKay Dee Hospital must also be finished.
Once the system is completed, anyone in the Ogden area can ride UTA services for free for three years.
“Our hope with OGX is it becomes a main staple,” said James Larson, the public relations and marketing strategist for UTA.
OGX is meant to help students and faculty get to campus and encourage fans not to use cars when going to sporting events.
The same idea is in place at other universities around the state, like at the University of Utah, Utah Valley University and Brigham Young University. Larson said that has encouraged a lot of people to take advantage of public transportation.
“We find anytime we put a new line in, it’s a great tool to have it free so the public can take advantage of it,” Larson said.
The full OGX line will open in late 2023.