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BRT system still taking shape has a new name — Ogden Express (or OGX)

By Tim Vandenack - | Sep 23, 2021

Tim Vandenack, Standard-Examiner

Officials gather to unveil the new name of the bus rapid transit system taking shape in Ogden on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. It'll be called the Ogden Express or OGX. Some of the participants in the unveiling on the Weber State campus, from left, were Cindy Terwilliger, the Region 8 Federal Transit Administration administrator; Beth Holbrook, a member of the Utah Transit Authority Board of Trustees; Weber State President Brad Mortensen; and Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell.

OGDEN -- Don't call it the Ogden bus rapid transit system.

The high-speed bus network taking shape between the FrontRunner station in downtown Ogden and the Weber State University campus has a new name -- Ogden Express or, in shorthand, OGX. Local leaders gathered Wednesday at the Weber State campus to unveil the name, only hours after the Utah Transit Authority Board of Trustees formally approved the moniker.

The name follows the schematic of the Utah Valley Express, or UVX, the UTA bus rapid transit system, or BRT, in Utah County. Other planned BRT systems in the works elsewhere in Utah will also incorporate the "X" for express in their name and the OGX and UVX color scheme -- gray, blue and red.

"People know immediately with that 'X' that that's a BRT. And then of course they're going to be looking for a gray bus," with the express markings, said Beth Holbrook, Northern Utah's rep on the UTA Board of Trustees, on hand for Wednesday's ceremony.

Talk of developing a BRT system in Ogden goes back for years, and work on the system here started last April. The $130 million system will be faster than traditional UTA bus service thanks in part to technology on the OGX buses that will coordinate traffic light changes along the route with bus flow. It will also run fairly frequently, every 15 minutes or so during peak traffic times.

Tim Vandenack, Standard-Examiner

Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell addresses a ceremony on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021, to unveil the new name of the bus rapid transit system taking shape in the city. It will be called the Ogden Express or OGX. Beth Holbrook, a member of the Utah Transit Authority Board of Trustees looks on.

The planned route goes from the FrontRunner station near Union Station to The Junction entertainment area in downtown Ogden to Washington Boulevard. The route then takes Washington Boulevard south to 25th Street, following 25th Street to Harrison Boulevard. The longest leg is along Harrison Boulevard, from 25th Street south to the Weber State campus and McKay-Dee Hospital west of that.

"This, in my opinion, is a generational project," said Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell, who also spoke at Wednesday's event. Discussion about the BRT here, he said, goes back 22 years and the system will enhance connectivity and transportation options.

WSU President Brad Mortensen has been watching work on the system proceed on the university campus, which will be bisected by a roadway taking shape that's meant for the OGX buses. "It's created a lot of excitement among our faculty, students and staff to see this coming to fruition," Mortensen said.

He also lauded the UTA decision to use electric buses on the system, 11 built by Livermore, California, bus manufacturer Gillig. Going electric, he said, ties in with the college's environmental sustainability initiatives.

Tim Vandenack, Standard-Examiner

A rendering of the electric buses that will run along the Ogden bus rapid transit system, formally named Ogden Express or OGX. The new name and renderings were unveiled at a ceremony on the Weber State University campus in Ogden on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021.

Development of the OGX route has resulted in work along Harrison Boulevard from 32nd Street to 36th Street and along Washington Boulevard around 25th Street for the past few months. The project is on track, Holbrook said, but the system won't be completely finished until late 2022 or early 2023 and local motorists, for now, will have to contend with continued road work as part of the project.

Ahead of completion, in August 2022, OGX buses are scheduled to start plying the Weber State campus, replacing the existing shuttle system.

Coming up with the name, Ogden Express and OGX, took nearly a year, according to Andrea Packer, the UTA communications director. Reps from several local organizations took part in the process, including the UTA, the City of Ogden, Weber State, Intermountain Healthcare and the Ogden Downtown Alliance, among others.

The OGX is funded largely with federal funds, and a rep from the Federal Transit Administration was also on hand Wednesday.

Several other BRT systems are in the works elsewhere in Utah. Longer term, a BRT system is planned linking southern Davis County with Salt Lake City.

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