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Pilot Program Explores On Demand Rides For Public Transit

On demand rides may soon be part of Tulsa’s public transportation strategy.


Steve Wilkes from IBI Group, a consulting company, gave a presentation to the Tulsa Transit Authority Board yesterday. Wilkes suggested an on demand pilot program for Nightline/Sunday Service routes 110 and 401.  


  "Customers could book trips directly with a contracted service provider, right from their smart phones, something many of us are familiar with in terms of the apps that we have," said Wilkes. 


Much about the program still needs to be decided, such as the true service area and how the program should really function for users. 


One concern is access to smart devices.  


"For those who don't have smart devices, they would have to make phone calls to a call center. Also important to recognize the unbanked: those who may not have a credit or debit card. There  really wouldn't be any provision to accept cash," said Wilkes. 


Wilkes said the program will save money. He puts the high estimate at $3 million per year. Details for that number were not given.


The next steps are identifying a service area and determining contractors.


The pilot program could start in 2022.