Tulsa Transit adds buses to six routes in push to cut wait times
BY KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 08, 2012
8/08/12 at 8:12 AM
Wait times for Tulsa Transit customers on six routes are about to get a little bit shorter.
Beginning Aug. 20, those six routes - 100, 112, 210, 221, 318 and 471 - will each be served by an additional bus.
On routes 100, 112 and 471, the buses are being added for peak-hour service, which is 7 to 10 a.m. and 3 to 7 p.m.
Routes 210, 221 and 318 will each get an additional bus during off-peak hours.
The buses are expected to cut wait times by as much as 50 percent, depending on the route. Overall, wait times on the six routes are expected to be reduced by 22 percent.
"What we are trying to do is get the bus frequency up to a reasonable level because the bus frequencies in town are not comparable with most of our peer cities," said Bill Cartwright, the Metropolitan Tulsa Transit Authority's general manager. "So to make the bus system successful, we feel we need to get the frequency to a level that would be suitable for most choice riders."
Cartwright said the average wait time between buses systemwide is 60 minutes.
With the additional buses, the average will drop to about 55 minutes, he said.
"The goal long term would be 30 minutes frequency during peak time and 45 minutes frequencies on off-time routes," he said.
Tulsa Transit considered ridership, the timing of the buses and the number of buses on a route in deciding which routes would be given an additional bus.
"These were the six routes that we determined to have the greatest need for better frequency," Cartwright said.
The additional buses were added for off-peak hours as well as peak hours because not everyone works a traditional 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule, he said.
Sarah Smith, 21, is a daily Tulsa Transit customer. On Monday, she caught the 100 bus downtown and took it to the Walmart at Admiral Boulevard and Memorial Drive.
She said the route's 45-minute wait time hasn't been too much of a nuisance, but she welcomes the plan to reduce it to 30 minutes in peak hours - especially given the scorching summer heat.
"Because after it passes by Walmart, it comes around about 20 minutes later," she said. "And if you don't catch that bus, you have to wait a little over an hour."
Daniel Pettit, 26, has been riding the 100 bus for a couple of weeks and is happy with the service. But he was glad to hear about the additional bus. In his hometown of Modesto, Calif., he was used to a 30-minute wait between buses.
Use of the additional buses - which Tulsa Transit already owns - is being paid for with $306,000 in supplemental funds approved by the Tulsa City Council for Tulsa Transit's fiscal year 2013 budget.
Overall, the bus service received $7,892,000 - up $442,000 from last year's funding but $551,000 less than it had requested.
Cartwright said adding buses to the six routes was at the top of the master list of improvements the bus service is putting together.
Had Tulsa Transit received the funding it requested for fiscal year 2013, he said, buses would have been added to six other routes.
"It is totally dependent on funding," Cartwright said.
Routes with additional buses
Beginning Aug. 20, the Metropolitan Tulsa Transit Authority will add buses to six routes. The buses are expected to decrease wait times on those routes by as much as 50 percent.
Here is a list of the affected routes and the estimated savings in wait times. A (p) indicates peak-hour service; (op) indicates off-peak-hour service.
Source: Tulsa Transit
Original Print Headline: Wait-loss effort
Kevin Canfield 918-581-8313
Billy Smith (right) and his wife, Jennifer Smith, ride on Tulsa Transit route 100 on Monday. The city is adding buses to six routes in an effort to shorten ride times. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World
Sarah Smith passes time at the downtown bus station while waiting for her bus Monday. The city is adding buses to six routes in an effort to shorten wait times. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World