Tulsa Transit is losing its current general manager at the end of the month.
Ted Rieck is taking the job as CEO of Jaunt, the transit authority of Charlottesville, Virginia. Rieck had announced in August he intended to retire in August 2022 but said he was pursuing the Jaunt job at the same time, and it’s too exciting an opportunity to pass up.
"In fact, even though Charlottesville is a much smaller community, they spend twice as much per capita on transit than we do in Tulsa. I mean, between the university and the city system and Jaunt, there's a tremendous investment in transit, and I think they want to do more and better as to what they have," Rieck said.
Rieck said one of the things he’s proudest of in his four years in Tulsa is getting raises for employees and senior managers who had gone without them more years than not.
"Addressing the below-market compensation was really important to keep the great staff that we have and to build upon that for a better system in the future," Rieck said.
A lot of the groundwork for that future system was laid during Rieck’s tenure. Tulsa Transit redesigned its routes, launched the Aero bus rapid transit line on Peoria Avenue and started planning another for Route 66, rolled out a smartphone app, and began looking at additional services to allow seamless, almost door-to-door transit. The agency also started a workforce shuttle running between north Tulsa neighborhoods and local employers.
"We need to reimagine what transit looks like in Tulsa. I think we need to move toward a regional transit system here as well, truly a regional transit system," Rieck said.
The transit board is searching for a permanent general manager.