History of EmX
The EmX system is the continuation of the development of a transit system that has been in operation since 1970. As LTD looks to the future, the EmX system represents a major improvement in service and a commitment to addressing the changing needs of our community.
Leading the Way
In 1970, LTD began operations with 18 buses and 2 vans. Ten years later, with service expanding, LTD became one of the first transit agencies in the nation to implement wheel chair accessible bus service in 1980. By 1985, all bus routes were wheel chair accessible, providing an important service to people with disabilities. LTD has continued to expand service, ensuring that area riders have affordable and effective transportation options that don’t require a car.
The Birth of EmX
In 1996, the community began updating the regional transportation plan. As part of this update, new ideas were explored to help decrease congestion and create a more efficient transit system. Many ideas were looked at carefully. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) emerged as the clearly preferred transit strategy since it offers a way to significantly enhance transit service and achieve many of the benefits of light rail without the high cost. As a result, BRT was initially approved in 2001 as a key element of the new transportation plan by Eugene, Springfield, Lane County, and LTD. The plan was updated in 2007 and still designates BRT as a central solution for the regions transit needs.
After eight years of planning, in 2004 LTD held a groundbreaking for its first EmX line along Franklin Blvd, connecting downtown Eugene with downtown Springfield and the University of Oregon. EmX service began in 2007. In 2008, a year after the introduction of service, EmX carried 1.5 million riders. Popularity with riders continues and in 2009, EmX carried its 4 millionth rider.
EmX Service Expands
The second corridor identified for EmX was Springfield’s Pioneer Parkway. This route went into service in January 2011. Gateway EmX extended the existing EmX service to Gateway, including the PeaceHealth RiverBend facility and the Gateway business district.
A third EmX segment, the West Eugene EmX project, has been approved by local decision makers and by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The project is currently in the engineering phase prior to construction and opening the route to serve the community.
LTD will continue to work with the community and local decision makers to further expand the EmX system as envisioned in the regional transportation plan approved by Eugene, Springfield, Lane County, and LTD. The plan identifies approximately 60 miles of EmX service to connect people in our community with work, school, goods, services, and recreation.