Tulsa Transit, TPS Partnership Giving Students New Opportunities
TULSA, Oklahoma - Some high school students are taking advantage of free rides on Tulsa Transit buses.
It’s allowing them to get to work or school, but, for some, it’s giving them the opportunity to join clubs or sports that they couldn't join in the past because of transportation issues.
The partnership between Tulsa Transit and Tulsa Public Schools has only been going on for four months, but we’re just now starting to learn if students have been using the buses and what impact it's making.
When school lets out, students wait for rides, jump on school buses or walk home.
But, in the past, some students missed out on sports or after school jobs because of transportation issues.
"Obviously there was a need. It's meeting a need, and our students are taking advantage of it," said Blaine Young with TPS.
On August 1st, TPS and Tulsa Transit joined together to offer high schoolers rides Monday through Friday.
Debbie Ruggles, Tulsa Transit assistant director, said, "Absolutely free, all they have to do is show their student ID."
While officials thought some students would use the system, they didn't imagine so many would, so fast.
Since the partnership began, on average, 2,000 students ride Tulsa Transit each week with a one-day peak of 454 students.
Ruggles said, "And it's grown, and it's grown, and it's grown consistently."
She said it's giving families and students more options.
"Parents might be at work, they might not be otherwise able to do it, now they have the opportunity," she said.
TPS leaders said it's also allowing students who miss a bus or need to stay late for school work the ability to get home safely.
Young said, "For anywhere Tulsa Transit runs, they can take a bus to school and still get to school,"
And while some had concerns about a bunch of teens riding public buses together, Ruggles said there haven’t been many problems.
"The kids act better on public transit than they do on school buses because they have the accountability from the adults on the bus," she said.
It provides them a duel education - one in school and one in life.
"It really educates the upcoming generation on the value of mass transportation, how easy it is to us," said Young.