Changes To Tulsa Transit May Leave Nighttime Riders Stranded

Tuesday, April 8th 2014, 6:49 pm
By: News On 6

It's the end of the road for some Tulsa Transit programs. Night time bus service will hit a dead end in July and budget cuts are costing some riders their only form of transportation.

Thousands of people ride the bus every day, and many, like Tulsa Transit regular Patricia Bowman, say cutting the routes will change their lives drastically.

"I've been riding the bus since I was 13 years old," Bowman said. "I honestly think they need to improve the bus services, not cut them."

She cannot drive because of a medical disability, so she relies on the bus.

"By them cutting the money that we need to improve the bus and make the services better, that's just going to cause more of an issue for us that ride the bus every day," Bowman said.

Tulsa Transit is losing ten percent of its budget, so it is looking for ways to cut services. Administrators have come up with two options; greatly reduce routes or cut fewer routes and raise fares by 25 cents.

Read The Proposals Here

"I've been in transit for 35 years and all of this makes me very sad. I understand that transportation is very, very important," said Tulsa Transit Assistant General Manager, Debbie Ruggles.

Many aren't upset about the price hike, their concern is the Nightline Service. Both proposals will eliminate it, which means all buses will stop running at 6:30 p.m.

Bus rider Gwen McIntosh said, "I have to work until 7:30 in the evening, so how am I supposed to get home at 7:30 in the evening? I have no clue because this is what I have. Tulsa Transit is what I've got."

McIntosh stopped by a public forum where riders voted on the proposal they liked most.

"I've been riding these buses since before I could walk and I'm use to all the changes and everything, but this is the worst I've ever seen it," McIntosh said.

Tulsa Transit says cutting nighttime service will impact the least amount of customers since only two percent ride at night.

"Show some compassion to those who are about to be devastated by this whole thing," McIntosh said.

Bowman said, "I think they seriously need to stop using their cars and rely on the buses for a month and then see how they would feel about something being cut that they have to rely on."