Rapid Transit Line Rolls Closer To Reality In Tulsa

Wednesday, March 2nd 2016, 6:27 pm
By: Emory Bryan

A prototype of Tulsa's rapid transit bus service arrived in the city on Wednesday.

Tulsa Transit plans to start an express bus line down Peoria and then down 11th Street.

The money for Peoria is coming, and the money for 11th Street is part of the Vision Tulsa package.

The bus is just out of the factory heading to Kansas City, which already has rapid transit.

It's the kind of service, and the type of bus, Tulsa Transit wants.

The windows are bigger and the seats are better.

That gives a better view and a more comfortable ride with all the seats facing forward.

"You don't want to be sitting sideways counting while you figure out ‘did I miss my stop?’ and have to walk back,” Gillig Corporation’s Joe Saldana said.

What makes bus rapid transit more useful is the bus stops less often -- at stations more like this than the shelters Tulsa has now.

"It's going to be a lot faster to get there than it is on the current system that might stop every block or two because it's only going to stop at those stations,” Tulsa Transit’s Debbie Ruggles said. “[And it has] level boarding so people can get on quickly, and I think people will be excited about that."

Until now, the holdup on Tulsans getting better bus service always was funding.

But there's tax money coming to start the Peoria line, and if the Vision Tulsa package passes, there's more money coming to start the 11th Street line and to speed up the start of true rapid transit in Tulsa.

"To put dedicated funding into place, so we can have these high frequency lines, really does make it possible for people to get to and from the places that are important to them,” city councilor Blake Ewing said.

And it's not cheap by any means.

Each bus runs about $450,000, but they can last 15 years and run a million miles.

At the earliest, Tulsa will start the service on Peoria in 2019.


Peoria Bus Rapid Transit:

Streets And Transportation In Vision: