Tulsa Transit Studies Bus Access For Homeless

May 3, 2021

Tulsa Transit Authority says they are trying to improve access to public transportation for the homeless.

Staff at Tulsa Transit studied how the bus is working for the homeless by assessing routes from places like shelters and encampments to medical facilities.

Assistant Director for Service Development Chase Phillips said knowing the time spent on a ride was critical to understanding problems. 

"The big finding that we got out of this is most of these trips to connect these destinations across the project area can be done in actually half an hour. That includes walking to the stop, all the time on the bus, as well as the layover time," said Phillips.

Tulsa Transit staff modeled routes frequently used by vulnerable populations

That timing assumes perfect understanding of the system by riders, though, which is not the case. Phillips made a number of recommendations for the project to the Transit Authority Board last week, including a “Train the Trainer” program that will improve understanding of the bus route system.

 

"A lot of field staff on the ground engaging...they don't actually know how to use the system correctly, either. So we want to make sure all field staff in the city who are helping people are prepared and trained," said Phillips. 

 

Other items discussed include a 50% subsidy for a service-agency managed program. The cost estimate for that is between $40,000 and $50,000. Another initiative would include signs at bus stops and would cost $8,000 the first year, $4,000 in subsequent years.