Wildcats’ new ride

The Dee Events Center bus stop.

Weber State University students can wave the Wildcat Express goodbye after over 40 years of service. But fear not, the Wildcat Express is being replaced by Ogden’s new Bus Rapid Transit system called Ogden Express.

The BRT system will allow for more students to be transported from the Dee Events Center directly to the front of the Browning Center.

The bus and parking at the Dee Events Center will be free to all and no longer require a parking pass, encouraging students to take advantage of the new buses.

There will be eight buses continuously running from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, every 10 minutes during fall and spring semester. During the summer semester, they will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, every 15 minutes.

All eight buses are brand new and fully electric, combining the efficiency of a TRAX system with the capacity of a city bus. Much like a UTA city bus, they are low-profile and ADA-compliant, fitting up to 60 passengers.

“I watched the shuttle for a week one week, and I saw them fit as many as 30 people at one time and that was it,” Bill Lloyd, UTA Operations Supervisor, said. “We can put twice that many on here.”

The bus will have three stops: first at the Dee, then at Wildcat Village and finally at the Browning Center. The Wildcat Village stop is a new edition to the shuttle system. The purpose of this stop is to accommodate student housing, offering even more students a ride to the main campus.

The Browning Center stop, also called WSU Central, has two stations picking up and dropping off students.

A new and faster route from the Dee Events Center to the front of the Browning Center was created for the BRT system. The route, a road linking Country Hills to Village Drive, is a two-way bus lane with Transit Signal Priority. This road is not for civilian use — civilian use of this road can lead to traffic violation warnings and tickets.

“This project has been in the works for over 20 years,” James Larson, UTA Public Relations Specialist, said. “We finally got funding from the Federal Transit Administration, and the FTA has paid for 75% of the project and the other 25% is paid through Ogden city, Weber State, WFRC and a bunch of other local partners.”

While it is not necessary for students to get their UTA pass to ride the bus, it is encouraged for WSU students, faculty and staff to take advantage of the free UTA EdPass available in their eWeber portal. This pass can be used anytime for the TRAX train, S-Line Streetcar, bus routes and UTA OnDemand Rideshare. The Transit app provides an up-to-date schedule of all UTA routes.

The BRT system will be part of the completed Ogden Express line next fall. This will consist of 19 stops throughout Ogden, including McKay Dee Hospital, Historic 25th Street and more.

“This is the beginning. In a year, they’ll be able to access anywhere at the junction, downtown, 25th Street, etc.,” Larson said. “There’s much, much more to come.”