Making Tulsa Transit the Method of Choice

Courtesy photo
TRANSPORTATION TEAM: From left, Tulsa Transit General Manager Ted Rieck, Tulsa Transit Board Member Emeka Nnake and Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum stand in front of a Tulsa Transit stop following the rollout of the new route system in September.

In Tulsa, we want to foster a generation of residents who utilize the greatest network of public transportation this city has ever seen. By having world-class transportation options, all Tulsans will have improved access to health care, education and job opportunities. Doing this ensures a better quality of life for all residents and breaks down the silos that have historically divided this city and created barriers to opportunity.
Though our bus routes now run seven days a week, a lot of Tulsans still don’t utilize them as their transportation method of choice. That’s why we decided to make our transit system faster, more easily accessible, more sustainable and more inclusive to all residents. Last year, Tulsa Transit conducted its first comprehensive study in 15 years to review and improve its local route network. In September, it launched more efficient routes while implementing a policy where riders will no longer be able to flag down a bus anywhere on the street. Improvements include 24 percent shorter travel times, grid like route structures, the creation of sub hubs where two more buses meet within 15 minutes, improved Saturday schedules and simplified nightline and Sunday services.
In July, Tulsa Transit was awarded a $2.9 million Low or No-Emissions grant to purchase new electric buses and charging stations, creating a more renewable future for our public transit system.
Tulsa will also be one of the first 12 cities to get Aero Bus Rapid Transit, a fast and modern bus route that will connect downtown to north Tulsa, midtown and south Tulsa through Peoria Avenue. Peoria was chosen after careful traffic studies were conducted to look at where the jobs and people were most concentrated in Tulsa. The study found one-fifth of Tulsa’s jobs were within a 10-minute walk of Peoria and one-in-seven residents lived within a 10-minute walk of the corridor. The decision to put Bus Rapid transit on Peoria will connect more residents to life-changing opportunities and services.
Bus Rapid Transit won’t be your typical bus route. It will be faster than traditional bus routes, with 15-minute peak waiting times and real-time bus information at every station. Accessibility will be prominent, with bus stops that have platforms level with boarding entrances. Stations will have covered platforms and buses will have on board Wi-Fi. Newly improved station lighting and pedestrian bicycle and pedestrian amenities will be available. If you work downtown, you’ll be able to get lunch at Brookside or Cherry Street and be able to get back to work on time. Its fee will be the same as any other Tulsa Transit bus: $1.75.
Bus Rapid Transit is expected to be fully operational by late November. The stations are being finished, test routes are being practiced and drivers are undergoing training. We anticipate the increased efficiency in Tulsa Transit’s routes, grant money to expand its fleet and the addition of Bus Rapid Transit will open up Tulsa in a way this city has never experienced before.