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OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma City officials plan to build a rapid transit bus line with a $14.4 million federal grant.

The U.S. Department of Transportation funds will pay for an 8-mile bus line that will connect downtown Oklahoma City with regional medical and commercial centers on the city’s northwest side. Rapid transit bus service is expected to begin in 2023.

Rapid transit bus service generally makes fewer stops than traditional buses and often has traffic signal prioritization that allows the buses to travel faster. Rapid transit buses also frequently have dedicated traffic lanes and passengers enter from platforms similar to those for trains.

The recent grant announcement comes as Oklahoma City’s downtown streetcar service started Friday following completion of a $135 million system that covers about 7 miles.  Rides are free until January 5. After that, it’s $1 per ride with daily, monthly and yearly passes available. Construction began in February 2017.