If you don’t own a car in Omaha, getting to work, buying groceries and navigating the city becomes a lot harder. Over the summer of 2021, The Reader tasked reporter Addie Costello to ride every Omaha Metro bus route in the city. From Florence to Bellevue, Westroads to Downtown, she talked with riders to hear their stories and ask a central question: is Omaha’s transit system working for the people who need it most?

The results are mixed. The buses are clean, but they’re also usually empty. They get most people where they need to go, but people still need to use rideshare apps to fill in the gaps. And while Omaha’s transit system is underfunded compared to nearby cities, it’s attracting new “choice” riders which can help strengthen the service.

But everyone, from riders to administrators, agrees on this: there’s work that needs to be done.

This podcast was produced and edited by Addie Costello.

The theme music is by Jon Rix and Chris Bowling.

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