The new Tulsa Transit circuit route serving north Tulsa will be free to ride effective Monday and lasting through the end of 2021.
Route 969, or the Workforce Express Network, "was developed to support and increase economic development in the North Tulsa area," the transit agency said in a news release. "Tulsa Transit is offering free fares June 21 through December 31 to help riders understand the route, the areas it serves and how it can help those who are in need of transportation."
“Tulsa Transit’s goal is to assist with overcoming transportation barriers,” said Ted Rieck, the agency's general manager, in a statement. “Free fares on the WEN route will help alleviate the financial barrier as well, allowing employers to see first-hand how beneficial this service is.”
Drew Myers, marketing coordinator at Tulsa Transit, said Tuesday they hope the move is good for both passengers and large employers along the route, which include Amazon, Bama Foods, Whirlpool, Macy's, NORDAM, Milo's and others.
"You know, there are people looking for jobs, they just need a way to get there," Myers said. "So hopefully this will show the employers as well that this is much needed in this area, and hopefully later on we can expand upon it as well."
Myers said Tulsa Transit has felt the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the form of low ridership, much like other U.S. transit systems.
"And this route is no different since we did launch it during the pandemic," Myers said. "So we're trying to just hopefully increase it and hopefully just get more people on the bus so they see that it's clean, it's safe, it's efficient to get to work."
Myers said given current ridership numbers, the route would be expected to generate just $1,500 in fares, roughly, for the period it will now be free to ride.